Becoming A Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation. What's more important--justice or discipleship? The answer is both . . . and the time to engage is now. In "The Just Church," Jim Martin invites you to follow the God of justice into some of the most fertile ground for discipleship there is--and to revive your own soul through renewed faith and a deeper experience of God.
Martin and International Justice Mission are on the front lines of the battle for justice in the world's darkest and most dangerous places. They've become experts not only at bringing rescue to victims of violence, sex trafficking, slavery, and oppression, but also at bringing churches into the fight through concrete actions that actually make a difference. Martin has seen firsthand the amazing things that happen--both in them and through them--when churches join the fight for justice. "The Just Church" shares tangible, accessible strategies to help your church respond to God's call to seek justice, defend the widow and orphan, and rescue the oppressed in far-off places and right in your own community. Whether you're already committed to doing justice in God's name and want to mobilize others around you or you're newly awakening to God's call, "The Just Church" is the key resource you need to see real change take place in the world, in your church . . . and in yourself. "Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)
The American church doesnâ€™t primarily suffer from heresy or persecution but from inaction. Jim Martinâ€™s book is more than a call for Christians to practice Christianity; itâ€™s also a road map guiding us from apathy to action. --Richard Stearns, President of World Vision US and author of "The Hole in Our Gospel"
About the Author
Jim Martin is vice president of church mobilization for International Justice Mission.
4 reviews have been written for this product.
In The Just Church, Jim Martin, VP of Church Mobilization at the International Justice Mission (IJM), asks and answers: â€œWhy is it that the glaring global justice issues of our dayâ€”issues such as sex trafficking, modern slavery, illegal property seizure and sexual assaultâ€”are so seldom addressed in our churches? Why is it that the widows, orphans, aliens, and strangers so often mentioned in the Scriptures are so seldom mentioned (or present) in our churches?â€
Martin clearly articulates what it looks like to become a â€œjust churchâ€ by underscoring the interrelatedness of justice and discipleship, risk-taking and faith; and telling how and why the church must engage in the fight against injustice.
Readers are transported to the front lines through stories of justice system roadblocks, dramatic rescues, church campaigns, and lessons learned. Martin describes a missional purpose that produces courageous love, and lays out a three-step strategy to jumpstart any church on their justice journey. The book is filled with creative ideas to spark action, a community assessment tool, diagrams, and guidelines, along with provocative questions.
Firsthand experience in rescuing victims of violence and oppression take Martin and IJM to the most dangerous places in the world. Theyâ€™ve became experts by embedding themselves on the front lines. But Martin goes beyond the emotional and intellectual knowledge to a deeper level. He presents readers with the cause and effect of injustice to bring understanding of what breaks the heart of God, and why we should care.
We see the complexity and horrors of sexual exploitation, genocide, forced labor, debt bondage, poverty, and a bevy of other human sufferings. But as individuals and societies, we find ourselves in a counterintuitive state of self-absorption and apathy that only fuels the brokenness, adding insult to injury. And, whereâ€™s the church? The church is right in the middle, yet not fully awake.
Although the call for justice rings louder than ever, it is in large part, missing a crucial voice: The Church. Once awakened and made whole, it can then minister that wholeness, â€œauthentic love, holistic rescue and restorative compassion,â€ to a world in desperate need.
The book challenges us to â€œmove outside our small worlds,â€ and â€œactually see and experience the world as it really isâ€”inclusive of the suffering and pain that we could easily avoid noticing. In so doing, we will experience the invitation of God to engage the world at its point of need and to be transformed in the process.â€ Itâ€™s key to move from the â€œministry of justiceâ€ as a program within a church, to the church ministering justice to the oppressed as part of its spiritual DNA.
Martin says, â€œAs churches, we must approach justice (the attribute of God) and justice ministry (the activity in which we engage) in the same way.â€ The battle is already raging. Itâ€™s time for the church to effectively engage. The Just Church will challenge and equip any individual or church committed to fighting oppression and injustice!
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
The words of the prophet Micah are spoken in churches all over the world. Believers love this simple declarations of what Jesus asks of His people.
Christians try hard to walk humbly with the Lord. We strive to show mercy to people. However, we often ignore or struggle with the clause of "acting justly." Especially for Western Christians, the command for justice is flat-out missed or simply misunderstood.
There is a new move of the Spirit, awakening His people to the need to provide justice for those who cannot speak up for themselves, to proclaim freedom to the captives, to minister to the widow and orphan. It is a slow burn, but it is exciting to see the embers leaping into flame in various places of the body.
A new spark is being provided by the new book The Just Church by Jim Martin of the organization International Justice Mission (IJM).
IJM has been fighting for justice for many years now and is one of the leading organizations battling injustices like forced labor, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of women and children, and modern-day slavery in all its forms.
Jim Martin has been working with them after transitioning out of the pastoral role in his church, becoming a church liason with IJM. This experience made him especially qualified to write The Just Church.
This book is a challenge to the body of Christ to reclaim the lost aspect of Micah 6:8 and to actively act justly in the world. There are other books that try to awaken Christians to the need of justice and to expose the problems of modern slavery and other forms of bondage towards vulnerable peoples that is easy to overlook in our daily lives. The Just Church is a book that takes the church on journey to forming a viable justice ministry to compliment evangelism and mercy ministry.
The book is laid out in three sections. The first section establishes a theory that faith doesn't really grow without significant risk and suggests that justice ministry is a needed part of the church and can help develop a healthier discipleship in His people. The second section takes the reader through a practical journey on establishing a justice ministry in the local church. It isn't a step by step approach, allowing for the individual characteristics of any body guide the process. The last part of the book is a series of appendices with Scriptures on justice, resources for following through, and study materials. Each chapter ends with a QR code that can be scanned by a smart phone or tablet, leading to a video with Jim summarizing each chapter's main point.
It is well-written with an easy conversational style. Jim lays out the challenges inherit in this type of ministry and doesn't sugar-coat it. It won't be easy. But he recognizes the hope that is out there for people if Christians will rise up and stand in this gap, so the book is infused with this balance of challenge and hope.
Overall I am thrilled to have had a chance to read this book and see the new horizons coming in the fight against injustice. The need is starting to become known in the western Church. The Just Church takes the movement to the next step and provides a practical tool to those churches looking into how they can join in the justice ministry sphere. It isn't for special people. The Bible speaks very clearly about God's love of justice and it is every Christian's responsibility to see the threefold thrust of Micah 6:8 walked out in the world today.
The Just Church is a powerful tool in the battle against modern injustice. I highly recommend it.
I've never written a book review before, but I am compelled to write this one.
If you have a heart for biblical justice, this book is for you. If you feel something is missing in the church, this book is for you. If you are a pastor or any type of ministry leader, this book is for you. And I will go as far as to say, even if you are not a person of faith, but are curious to understand why the church cares about justice, this book is for you.
Like a seasoned coach, Jim Martin shares the principles and truth of a just church, from his own experience in leading others as they "looked for trouble" to his role today coaching churches through International Justice Mission. The Just Church is a successful football playbook with notes and tips written in every margin. Each team's justice game will look differently, but Martin shares the fundamentals necessary for building a justice legacy.
Be forewarned, this book will likely wreck you. And you too will be compelled to get into the game with courage and humility.
"My faith, my theology, my life experience, simply could not accomodate Marta's story. I wanted to unlearn what I'd just heard--to purge it from my mind. But that was impossible. I racked my brain for some comforting thought, some idea, some theological construct, some passage of Scripture that would quench the fire of emotion raging in my chest. I was uncomfortable with the level of anger I was feeling--rage, even--toward anyone who would destroy the lives of children like the ones in the pictures before me. But at the failure point, there is no such help, no easy answer. The faith I had brought with me to Peru simply failed" (The Just Church, p. 39).
So Jim Martin describes his first up-close encounter with violent injustice. What he describes is remarkably similar to the first time I heard the stories: Stories that begin with someone's dignity being ripped away by someone more powerful and end with the hopeful response of God's people resulting in rescue and rehabilitation.
This book is for gatherings of Christians at any stage of a justice journey who want fuel, wise guidance and even a map to help them along the way. You might be a church member who is simply wondering how issues of injustice relate to your faith. You might be the "social justice" person who is seeking a biblical basis for your concern. You might be a church leader who wants to explore issues of injustice together with others at your church. Or perhaps you've been leading your church to engage injustice for years and are wondering where to go next.
Allow me to briefly describe my background so that you have some idea of the perspective I brought to this book. I've been a supporter of IJM since hearing Gary Haugen, IJM President, speak in 2008. Since then I've attended annual Global Prayer Gatherings and have also participated in many advocacy activities. I've also read most of the books produced by IJM staff. At the same time, I've struggled to appreciate certain aspects of IJM's work and culture. Thus I came to this book assuming that I've heard most of it already, that I'd agree with most of it and feel ambiguous about some of it.
This was not my experience. One of my concerns from early on in my involvement with IJM has been, "isn't this justice stuff something churches should be doing? Why do people have to leave their church and go work for an NGO to do justice in Jesus' name?" After reading The Just Church, I have a new answer: they don't! The book infused me with hope as I realized there is so much more possibility for a church to get involved in the work of justice than I had imagined.
The first half of the book revolves around the interesection of faith, discipleship and justice. Jim describes two character attributes that rarely exist simultaneously but that are both necessary for sustainable justice ministry: courage and humility. We learn how faith grows most readily when we are willing to take risks together. We also learn that engaging in justice work as a church does not require neglecting discipleship; in fact, the work of helping victims and survivors of violent oppression happens to also be fertile ground for discipleship. My own experience agrees with Jim's realization that we have at least as much to gain when we move towards folks much more vulnerable than ourselves as they do.
The second half of the book is devoted to providing a clear path for churches wishing to embark on sustainable, meaningful service to the most vulnerable among us, whether on the other side of the world, within that church's local community, or even within the church itself. A wealth of practical, helpful material is provided along with wise advice informed by years of helping many churches along this journey. Each chapter in the book concludes with questions for reflection that I found very helpful in processing the material and teasing out its relevance for me.
I appreciated the connection Jim drew between justice and discipleship. The fact that justice work just happens to be fertile ground for discipleship is good news both to those who care about discipleship and to those who care about justice. The news should relieve a major hesitation church leaders could have when considering getting involved in bringing justice to the vulnerable.
Having come from a church that had more than its fair share of struggles with our own pride, I also appreciate Jim's challenge early in the book to demonstrate both courage and humility. The two attributes rarely coexist, he says, but both are crucial when embarking on a justice journey. Victims and survivors of violent abuses deserve helpers who are both willing to take risks but also well-prepared, cooperative and open to learning from others.
Finally, anyone interested in making steps towards doing justice work will find the second half of the book and the appendices incredibly practical and helpful. These chapters are filled with wise and practical advice gleaned from years of helping churches through a process of encountering, exploring, and engaging in justice work. Far from a rigid, linear prescription, Jim acknowledges that each church's journey will look different. He is clear, however, about some crucial things he believes need to take place before making important transitions. He also provides concrete examples for those who need help getting started. I will personally benefit from the reading lists and surveys of scripture found in the appendices.
If you're interested in the connections between risk, faith, justice, discipleship and joy, I recommend this book to you. Likewise, if you're wanting to build a biblical foundation for doing justice in Jesus' name, I recommend it to you. If you're part of a church curious about or looking to do something about the great injustice you see abroad or in your own community, I especially recommend it to you.
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