Years of life and ministry in a traditional church context had atrophied me into a missional paraplegic. Strapped to my institutional chair, I looked out into a wider world longing to engage with it yet finding no means to do so. When I read about the “Pockets of People” concept in Neil Cole’s Organic Church, it felt as if someone had said, “Rise and walk.” I finally had some place to put my foot down and get traction toward the enterprise of making disciples.
Neil defines “Pockets of People” as, “Any network of relationships where a believer has or can gain influence.” The concept is also known to missiologists as the oikos or “household.” These are webs of relationships and along their strands the gospel was always meant to travel. To maintain the organic metaphor and facilitate the translation of these materials into other cultures and languages, we’ve deemed this concept “the field.” For new Christ followers, the field will naturally consist of their current sphere of influence. As disciple makers, our job must be to challenge and support them to share the saving message with their unredeemed associations. Those who’ve been churchified for many years will have to work a bit harder to find a fertile field in which to plant the gospel as most if not all of our relationships often consist of Christians. I have a friend who’s started a regular prayer time at his work and invites believers and unbelievers to join in or leave requests. I know a couple that has begun a Life Team among their neighbors. Personally, I’ve taken up a hobby that I’m really not that good at but includes many very welcoming people who do not consider themselves followers of Christ.
So, what about you? Do you have regular interaction with unbelievers? Seeds cannot be sown in the barn. The gospel seed must land in a field to take root, bear fruit, and grow. If you have a field already, then start praying over it for “blessings from above.” Then watch for opportunities and be ready to share the good news. For more on this watch for the next installment, “Seed to Sow.” If you don’t have a field, find one. One way to do this might be to start engaging your immediate neighbors. Another might be to pull your kids out of their Christian sports league or school and become the most involved parent volunteer ever. Or you could carve out time to take up a new hobby and participate in it with unbelievers. Meetup.com is a good place to start to find one of these. (I got that last piece of advice from a non-believer.)
Once you’ve identified your field, we’d love to hear back from you on how its going. You can use “The Three O’s” to journal your prayers or just comment below. Blessings to you as you go into the field.