Four churches in the southwest metro are collaborating around God’s passion for justice and mercy. On the weekend of May 14-16, Wooddale Church, Christ Presbyterian Church, Westwood Community Church, and Grace Church are planning a Twin Cities Justice Weekend with the help of the International Justice Mission (IJM).
Origin of collaboration
A number of churches have been in collaboration surrounding justice for several years; including involvement in a 5K Stop the Trafficking Run (this year’s run will be on June 11th).
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right; seek justice, defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
“Let’s gather a coalition of similar-sized churches out here (in the southwest metro) with the same heartbeat for justice and theologically beliefs; to start a justice coalition, then we can invite other churches to join the coalition,” said Chaz Nichols, Director of Adult Ministries and Missions at Westwood Community Church.
“This is not a passing social fad, as followers of Christ this is a Biblical mandate that we are to be part of God’s plan for justice. Issues of injustice are not going away anytime soon, and we can lead as the Church,” said Christine Erickson, Director of OneLess Ministry at Grace Church.
Church Efforts to Fight Injustice
Erickson says a team at Grace has been involved in anti-trafficking ministries through hosting a bi-monthly bible study for survivors of sex trafficking, and praying over the dark evils of sex trafficking when a local police officer notifies the team of a prayer need.
At Westwood Community Church, Nichols formed a justice team two years ago to look into targeting sex trafficking and slavery around the world, and locally through opening a teen crisis home on its church campus.
Micah 6:8 What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
“We turned a house on campus into a home for teens in crisis or homeless, because it averts the pull into sex trafficking,” said Nichols.
Erickson and Nichols hope their teams’ passion for God’s justice expands to their entire church bodies and beyond. On Sunday, May 15, Grace, Westwood and a dozen other churches are hosting an IJM speaker to preach from their pulpits on issues of justice.
“Bringing up the issue of Biblical justice and how to be involved in seeing modern day slavery end is new,” said Erickson. “Many churches are dedicating an entire Sunday to Biblical justice, and I’m excited to see that message reach dozens of churches.”
Better Together, than Apart
This coalition of churches believes the Church is better together, than apart when working to end slavery. Any church is invited to join the Twin Cities Justice Weekend through 5 ways:
- Invite an IJM speaker to preach from your pulpit – email Larry Martin for more details
- Preach your own message of justice
- Show an IJM video (options: 90 seconds, 3 minutes or 45 minutes)
- Promote and attend the Art, Music, Justice Tour Concert on Sunday night
- Attend the Justice Breakfast for pastors and mission leaders on Monday morning
Art, Music, Justice Tour Concert
On Sunday May 15, Grace Church will host a special night of songs, stories, and prayer in the fight to end slavery. The concert is open to the public featuring performances from Sara Groves, Brandon Heath and Jenny & Tyler.
“If we could pack out the auditorium that would be awesome, we have 4,000 seats at Grace and I’d love to fill the place, and fill our hearts for justice,” said Erickson.
Click here for tickets.
Justice Breakfast for Pastors and Mission Leaders
On Monday morning May 16, pastors and mission leaders are invited to learn what the global and local modern day slavery situations look like. International Justice Mission’s Senior VP of Justice Operations, and VP of Church Mobilization will speak on the global fight to end slavery, and what is possible with hard work, partnership and God’s help. A Minneapolis police officer, who works to fight local sex-trafficking crimes, will share what is happening right in the Twin Cities, and how churches can be involved.
“Part of our goal is that the ‘Big C, Church’ as a whole will be freshly impassioned to do something and make a difference with issues of injustice,” said Erickson.
“The prophet Micah tells us to do justice, I believe that’s the heart of God,” says Nichols.
Click here to register.
What is possible when the Church responds to justice?
“It’s clear that the church can lead and be that voice of justice in our culture and in our world,” said Erickson.
“It’s the last piece of discipleship that we don’t talk about so much. But people are starting to realize God’s heart is the heart of justice; to the degree that we can help in that process, and we are doing the will of God,” said Nichols.
Join us as we seek to learn and pray for God’s passion for justice and mercy.
For more details on the Twin Cities Justice Weekend.
Learn more about how other local churches are fighting global injustice.