See what's coming soon! Coming in October »

Jump directly to the content
magcover

Already a subscriber?

Home > Issues > 2010 > Summer > Three Faces of Graceful Justice
Article Preview. Log in or subscribe now.

People are drawn to the gospel when they see Christians acting like Christ. This is the impulse behind many churches engaged in ministries of justice and mercy.

Julie Clawson, author of Everyday Justice, says, "Justice is not about causes or issues. It is about people.

It is about loving our neighbors as ourselves. When you are acting like Jesus with people they begin asking questions such as, 'Why are you doing this for us? Where is this love coming from?' Unfortunately so many people have developed such a negative perception of Christians as all talk and no deeds, that in these days if you just start talking about Christianity they will shut you down. But when we lead with acts of mercy, acts of justice, acts of love and we do it in Jesus' name, it opens a whole new realm of conversation."

Here's how three churches are putting justice, mercy, and the gospel into practice.

Ginghamsburg Church

Tipp City, Ohio

Quick Facts:
• Weekly attendance: 4,500
• Multi-site, including house churches
• Association: United Methodist

Since 2004, Ginghamsburg Church has built 173 schools in Darfur that serve 22,000 students and have sponsored a sustainable agricultural project that has now helped to feed an estimated 80,000 Darfuris. The church has also built systems to provide clean water and sanitation.

Ginghamsburg's work in Darfur has not been without risk and danger. In the past year they have had one staff member shot and another kidnapped. However, the sacrifice and work is yielding fruit. Pastor Michael Slaughter tells of sitting with a group of Muslims just after the completion of a school. "Their question to me was, 'Why are you doing this? You're the church.' Now, by this time, we had been working there for three years … before the question was ever asked. We can't preach the gospel there, but we can demonstrate the gospel, and this question gave me the opening to say, 'As a follower of Jesus this is what we believe … that God loves you and your situation is our situation.'"

Slaughter continued to explain that he is now into a five-year conversation explaining what Jesus Christ taught about himself. His position is that in a pre-Christian or post-Christian world, evangelism is by demonstration before proclamation. Proclamation comes after they've seen the gospel in action.

"To Jesus, the church was an active verb and not a passive noun," Slaughter said. "Jesus' followers practiced mission evangelism. The heart of God's mission is serving, and ultimately we must bring people to faith and new birth in Jesus."

The Renew Community

Landsdale, Pennsylvania

Quick Facts:
• Weekly attendance: 150
• House Church Network
• Association: Ecclesia Network

J.R. Briggs is founding pastor of the Renew Community, a handful of house churches that gather twice monthly for corporate worship in a small borough 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Theirs is a prime example of a small church getting big things done.

Many of the church's ministries ...

log in

To view the rest of this article, you must be a subscriber to LeadershipJournal.net. Activate your online account for complete access.

From Issue:Justice & Evangelism, Summer 2010 | Posted: July 12, 2010

Also in this Issue: Summer 2010

What is Biblical Justice?Subscriber Access Only

The theology of justice flows from the heart of God.

The People and the Black Book Subscriber Access Only

One church's attempt to do justly
Your Church's Apgar

Your Church's ApgarSubscriber Access Only

A new way to measure spiritual vitality

Our Calling, Our SpheresSubscriber Access Only

Calling involves everything we are and everything we do.

Not a Subscriber?

Subscribe Today!

  • Monthly issues on web and iPad
  • Web exclusives and archives on Leadership Journal.net
  • Quarterly print issues

Print subscriber? Activate your online account for complete access.

Join the Conversation

Average User Rating: Not rated

No comments

Use your Leadership Journal login to easily comment and rate this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe, or on public pages, register for a free account.
Reader's Pick
The Prayer-Centered Church

The Prayer-Centered ChurchSubscriber Access Only

What it takes to lead a prayerful community.
Sister Sites
Help Young Women Navigate DatingBuilding Church Leaders

Help Young Women Navigate Dating