The Just Church - Encounter, Explore, Engage
I have just come to the end of reading through the book ‘The Just Church’ by Jim Martin from IJM (International Justice Mission). The book is divided into two distinct parts, the first of which I have looked at in previous blogs. In this second part the style and emphasis of the writing takes on a more practical tone.
This section deals with three key phases IJM have identified for churches that are serious about getting involved in justice ministry to go through in order to be the most effective that they can be within this tough area of ministry. The three phases are: Encounter, Explore and Engage which all aim to connect the whole church with the work of justice both locally and internationally in a variety of ways. Practical advice and tips are given alongside some road-tested stories of successful implementation. Tables and charts are drawn out to help provide an organised, intentional focus to the development of identified aims and areas of need.
Although some may be feeling like they need to give an instant knee-jerk response to the enormous injustices that justice ministry deals with, it is much better in my opinion, and indeed in Jim Martin’s, that time is taken to properly and clearly put a long-term action plan together. If you want to actually deal with and solve the problems that cause injustice and are caused by injustice, you need to take the time of confronting the root of the problem. By reacting impulsively, this will provide short-term help and assistance but is unlikely to produce lasting change. And this is the process that this part of the book aims to help and guide churches through.
‘The Just Church’ is an extremely valuable book for churches of any size or location that are looking for a meaningful, long-term way of engaging with the problem of injustice. This in turn will cause congregations to grown in faith and in deeper discipleship, as they run and follow hard after things that God cares about deeply.