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Come and See

Peacemaking: a ministry to which we all are called

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“Redemptive.” That was my answer almost three years ago when asked on the last day of Alliance Peacemaking training what peacemaking means to me. It has not proven wrong over time.

I’ve seen God be redemptive by restoring and healing relationships. Redemptive by strengthening the community of saints. Redemptive by freeing us leaders from an outcome-driven mentality. Redemptive by allowing us to participate with Him in His great plan of redemption and reconciliation.

Little did I know that a few years after that seminar, I would ask the same question, now as an Alliance Peacemaking facilitator, to two groups of C&MA pastors and leaders. One was in English in Colorado Springs and the other in Spanish in Orlando.

Tears and Laughter

God showed up in both seminars not only through the teaching of biblical principles, which are countercultural to every culture, but also through personal encounters with Him in the midst of brokenness.

The testimonies were many and varied among the diverse group of men and women of different ages, vocations, generations, and cultures. We shared much: from tears to laughter, from giving hope to receiving peace, from honest confessions to sweet freedom, and from living in isolation to living in community.

Is it possible to experience all this in a couple of days? The answer is an emphatic “yes!”

None of us team members could take credit for the outcome. It was not forced or manipulated. God moved, and this was the result at both trainings. The work of the same Author, the same Holy Spirit, abides in every child of God.

Genuine Internal Peace

Sometimes we get so familiar with Christian concepts that we miss the heights, depths, reality, and implications of a relationship with the living God.

Have you considered the dimensions of the peace God offers through Christ? What does living in peace really mean? Is it an individual or community effort? Is it passive, or must it be strived for?

These are valid questions that demand real answers. Consider Ken Sande’s insight in his book The Peacemaker: “[I]t is impossible to know genuine internal peace unless you also pursue peace with God and others.”

Right relationships with God and others must be strived for. The result is peace that passes all understanding. We make war; we must also make peace. This is why Alliance Peacemaking exists: to help us answer those questions and equip ourselves to connect with God and with others as ambassadors of reconciliation.

A Way of Life

Alliance Peacemaking Ministries led by Rick Stein provides trained, experienced, and gifted people from across the Alliance family to bring personal, Christ-centered help with conflict coaching, mediation, and crisis intervention at any level of conflict. It helps and equips the saints in the ministry of reconciliation. The goal is to change the culture of The Alliance so that breathing God’s grace—even in conflict—remains part of our DNA.

Who can say he or she is free of conflict in this life? All of us fall short of the glory of God, but God uses conflict to soften our edges, transform our character, and define our relationships.

In other words, biblical peacemaking is a magnifying lens that first points inward, pushes us God-ward, and then sends us outward, affecting all of our relationships.

Peacemaking is not a program to improve us as Christians or a process to fix our immediate problems. Rather, it is a way of life for all gospel-driven individuals to pursue.

Can you visualize a healing community where, in Henri Nouwen’s words, “wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision; and mutual confession then becomes deepening of hope; and shared weaknesses become a reminder to one and all of the coming strength”? I can. And we do it in Alliance Peacemaking. Just come and see!

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). In a world desperately in search of peace, may we all embrace the call of being peacemakers.

A Good Confession

The gospel declares that reconciliation is possible. I have seen it in my own life. I have seen it in the ministry of Great Commission Women. In my first interaction with the national executive team of Great Commission Women (GCW) in May 2015, I made an unintended misstep. I expressed a strong opinion, born out of frustration. This team absorbed my comments and responded with gracious prayers of commissioning. Four months later in September, while once again meeting with this team, I realized that I had sinned against them. My comments in May, while valid, were spoken at the wrong time and in the wrong place. I failed to recognize that this team was grieving the absence of their leader, Edna Mapstone, at what were her final training meetings with the GCW leadership team. I also failed to recognize that this team was exhausted. Although it was not my intent, I caused hurt to this wonderful group of women, a team that was transitioning to serve under my leadership. I had been a recipient of their undeserved grace in May. I knew that I needed to make a good confession and ask for their forgiveness. On the final day of our planning meetings in September 2015, I asked that we begin with Communion. Rosilio Román III, assistant vice president for Multicultural and Multiplication Ministries, graciously offered words of truth from Scripture. The bread was distributed. Before we ate the bread together, I asked to share a few words. This was the moment I offered a good confession. Without excuse, I acknowledged the hurt I had caused the team in May and asked for their forgiveness. Oh, my goodness! The outpouring of love was a testimony to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and reconciliation. These women had absorbed the hurt I caused in May but didn’t allow that hurt to create a root of bitterness. Together as a team, they poured out grace and forgiveness. I was humbled. I was grateful. I did not deserve a team such as this. This is where loving one another begins—with reconciled relationships. When we experience reconciliation, we can move forward into ministry.

—Jen Vogel, director for Great Commission Women

1 response to Come and See

  1. Thank you Yamil,

    this is a lovely article. It reminds me that it is more than prayer and union with God. It’s about building peace in our most important (or all) relationships.

    Darby

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