People sometimes wonder why the HIV&AIDS Initiative is so
centered on working through the local church. Our Initiative is part of the
PEACE Plan, Saddleback Church’s model of mobilizing ordinary believers to
tackle the “global giants” – the issues affecting billions around the globe. In
this article (originally
posted to Pastors.com), Pastor Rick Warren describes some characteristics
that make the PEACE Plan unique and sustainable.
God always blesses us so we can
bless others. After The Purpose
Driven Life came out and became one of the best-selling books in
history, it became clear that God wanted to use my influence to help others.
That’s when God put The PEACE Plan on my
heart. PEACE is an acronym that stands for:
Planting churches that promote reconciliation
Equipping servant leaders
Assisting the poor
Caring for the sick
Educating the next generation
It’s basically what Jesus did when
he was here on earth. There’s not a lot that’s unique about doing these five
things. Mission organizations in all corners of the globe are doing them
already. Churches have done them for 2,000 years.
It’s how these five things are
done that makes PEACE unique. These are the seven PILLARS of The
Promotes, plants, and partners with the local church
First and foremost The
PEACE Plan is about reclaiming the primacy of the local church in its role
in global missions. Why? For the last century, the church has abdicated that
role to parachurch organizations, mission boards, and mission organizations.
Don’t get me wrong. These organizations are doing great work, but they were
never God’s Plan A. God always intended it to be done by the church.
And as we have handed over the
reins of global missions, we’ve excused 99 percent of our members from
participating in the five things Jesus did while he was on earth. The idea was
this – let the professionals do it. Let the professional doctors care for the
sick. Let the professional preachers start churches. But there just aren’t
enough professionals. We all need to be a part of God’s mission in the world if
we’re going to see his work get done. That’s why The PEACE Plan is centered
around the local church.
Imitates Jesus’ model
The PEACE Plan is modeled
after the actual instructions Jesus gave when he sent out his disciples in
Matthew 10 and Luke 10. You’d think that Jesus’ instructions would have long
been the cornerstone of missions strategy for the church. Unfortunately, they
For example, Jesus says, “Don’t
take a purse with you.” There are two reasons for that. First, he doesn’t want
us to depend upon our money. He wants us to depend upon him. He is also saying
that money can’t solve the problems of the world. You can’t solve poverty by
throwing money at it. When you throw money at problems, you create dependency.
You create a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude.” Jesus says, you’ve
got to train people to help themselves. That’s a core part of The
For another example, Jesus said:
“Eat whatever they put in front of you.” He’s telling the disciples to adopt
the local customs. You don’t ask those you are trying to reach to become like
you before they become a Christian. You adapt your situation to them. They
don’t adapt their situation to yours.
Jesus tells the disciples to go
out in pairs. The PEACE Plan is done by small groups. We never send people
out alone. You look all the way through Jesus’ ministry, he never sends people
out by themselves. He always sends them out in groups of at least two. That’s
why we send out small groups through The PEACE Plan.
Jesus also tells the disciples to
find a “man of peace” in every village – to start with someone who is open to
the message and influential. We teach our teams to spot a person like that on every
trip and start with that person.
Just take a look at the other
commands Jesus made in those passages. Those words are the cornerstone of how
we do PEACE.
Lets amateurs lead
When I first started telling
people about The PEACE Plan, I got a lot of funny looks when I mentioned
my commitment to using amateurs. People thought it was the craziest idea they’d
ever heard. How do you solve these five crushing worldwide problems with
I love the word amateur. It comes
from the Latin word amore, which means love. Amateur literally means “out of
love.” That’s what amateurs are. People who do what they do out of love. There
simply aren’t enough professional doctors to heal all the diseases. There
aren’t enough preachers to start all of the churches.
Links public, private, and church sectors
Whenever I speak at economic
forums, I always hear about the need to link governments and businesses
together to help solve some of the world’s problems. But if governments and
businesses could solve the world’s problems on their own, they would have done
it by now. We need a three-legged stool. A one-legged stool and a two-legged
stool will fall over. But a three-legged stool will stand. The third leg is the
There is a role for governments.
The Bible tells us that. They bring order and execute justice, along with other
responsibilities. There’s also a role for business. Businesses bring management
skills and capital, for example. But you can’t forget the church either. We
have a crucial role to play. There are things the church brings to the table
that neither business nor government can.
Attacks all five giants
PEACE is a comprehensive
strategy. Why? The five global evils we’re fighting are intertwined.
Poverty is often related to disease. Corruption (bad leadership) is often
related to education problems. They are interconnected. Other groups can attack
just part of the problem. The church is called to deal with all of the
problems. We can’t shirk our responsibility.
Reorganizes efforts within a network
We have something we didn’t have a
generation ago – the Internet. It allows us to talk to one another even
though we are in different parts of the world. Every time God’s Word has been
put in a new technology, revival has come. When Gutenberg developed the
printing press, we had the Reformation. Why? The Word could get around faster.
Through the Internet we have a great opportunity to spread the Word even
faster. The Internet has allowed us to network churches all around the
world to solve these problems. In the past, if two churches from different
parts of the world were working in an area, they couldn’t share information.
Often, they wouldn’t even know the other was working there. Now they can
Shifts to sustainable funding
This means that PEACE doesn’t
depend on fundraisers, bake sales, or garage sales. It creates self-generating
and self-sustaining projects. It fosters sufficiency, not subsidy; a hand up,
not a hand out. We’re going to reinvent how missions work is funded.
Did you know that a $50 gift can
change a person’s life in most places in the world? Buy a chicken and you have
an egg factory. Buy a goat and you have a milk factory. It’s amazing how a
little money will make a big difference in a person’s life if it’s done in a
way that can be sustained.
If you would like to be a part of
what the PEACE Plan is doing to equip ordinary believers in local churches to
end AIDS and provide healthcare, email us at HIV@saddleback.com or call the
HIV&AIDS Initiative line at 949-609-8555.