Next Steps in the Church’s Quest to Seek Justice
A Quest to End Modern-Day Slavery
The first Twin Cities Justice Weekend was a giant success, with more than one dozen churches collaborating together to hear messages of God’s heart for justice, and 25,000 adults attending the weekend events including the Art, Music, Justice concert. Hundreds of pastors and missions leaders prayed together for justice in our world and in our local community during the pastor’s breakfast.
The stakes are high
Sean Litton, the President of the International Justice Mission (IJM) encouraged churches to seek justice as a calling from God.
“I believe the stakes are incredibly high, if we neglect justice, this coming generation that’s coming up in our churches will ignore us. And we will deserve to be ignored, because the work of justice is a matter of civil obedience. It’s the mark of a prophetic Gospel and the people of God liberated from fear.”
…if we neglect justice, a perishing world will ignore our gospel because in a world of trouble, such a Gospel will not be credible.
“Moreover if we neglect justice, a perishing world will ignore our gospel because in a world of trouble, such a Gospel will not be credible. It will not be the whole Gospel and it will not reflect the holiness, goodness and character of God. If we neglect justice, we will miss the opportunity for ourselves and our congregations to experience the living God in reality in our own lives,” said Litton.
Address the root of human trafficking
Human trafficking is a money driven enterprise. According to Sgt. Grant Snyder of the Minneapolis Police Department, the buyers are the fuel that puts a child in a hotel room or in a brothel, or on a street corner.
“What drives this problem is the depravity and covetousness of men. Covetousness of a sexuality that’s been completely distorted and affected by the power of the devil to convince us that if we don’t see scars, if the tears are masked by smiles, then the victims in pornography or prostitution aren’t really people.”
If we want to protect those children, and set free those prisoners, we also have to set free the men who are prisoners of sin…
He encouraged church leaders to address the problems of human trafficking by starting with the offenders; offenders who are often men who live in Twin Cities suburbs, who have never before been in legal trouble, and even attend our churches.
“There are men out there who need the help of the Church. If we want to protect those children, and set free those prisoners, we also have to set free the men who are prisoners of sin, and they are in our midst, even in church,” said Sgt. Snyder.
Sgt. Snyder said God has convicted him to call on the Church to preach the Gospel to the “Johns” who keep sex trafficking in business.
“I plead with you to have those challenging conversations about purity, have those challenging conversations about covetousness in your church, to address the root of this problem,” he urged Twin Cities pastors.
Be a church with a large worldview
Jim Martin, IJM’s Vice President of Spiritual Formation believes there is a huge disconnect between how Western Christians view the world, and the reality of injustices in the world.
How do we help people to see the world as God sees the world, when their worldview can be so distorted?
“Church leaders are allowing this disconnect to persist. A limited worldview actually limits how our people read the scriptures. Then our congregations don’t see the scriptures for what they contain, because they don’t see the world as it actually is. A limited view of the scriptures actually further limits their worldview, and it becomes a spiral of isolation,” said Martin.
Martin encourages church leaders to help their congregations to expand their worldviews by sharing true stories of injustice around the world and in our communities, and help them to get out of that spiral of isolation which only leads to having a concern for our small, privileged world.
“How do we help people to see the world as God sees the world, when their worldview can be so distorted?” asked Martin.
God’s heart for justice and mercy is beating strongly here in the Twin Cities. Let’s not allow the momentum to slow down. The following are ways Twin Cities churches can continue to be a part of the quest to end modern-day slavery.
Next Steps in Fighting Modern-Day Slavery
Host Freedom Sunday at your church on September 25, 2016
- Join thousands of Christians across the country who are coming together on one day to end slavery for good.
Participate in the Stop the Trafficking 5K Walk/Run, Saturday June 11, 8:30am Purgatory Creek Park, Eden Prairie
- Join churches, businesses and the community as we say that we are NOT okay with human trafficking. All race proceeds are designated to nonprofits who are supporting sexually-exploited and at-risk youth, including International Justice Mission, Mission21, The Link and The Bridge for Youth Southwest.
Help to end slavery on Lake Volta in Ghana, Sunday, July 10, 11:10-1:10 Room A205, Westwood Church, Excelsior
- Hear dynamic speaker Kaign Christy, Field Office Director for IJM Ghana. Thousands of young boys are forced to work as slaves in the massive fishing industry on Ghana’s Lake Volta. Children as young as 4-year-old are abused, malnourished and endangered. Come hear Kaign Christy describe the situation on Lake Volta, along with the important work that IJM is doing to rescue the boys off the lake and bring the slave owners to justice.
Serve a meal at Source Ministries in Minneapolis
- Volunteers are needed the second Wednesday of each month to serve a meal at Wooddale Church’s local outreach – Source Ministries in Minneapolis.
- SOURCE serves the at-risk and unreached, including homeless youth and victims of prostitution in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. For more information contact Worldwide@wooddale.org
Start a Justice Team at Church
Start a Justice team – which is a group of lay people who are partnering with organizations like IJM to fight slavery, both locally and around the world. These are active teams that plan events to raise awareness, develop strategic partnerships, advocate politically and pray together.
Or join one of the following teams:
- Westwood’s Justice team meets the first Thursday of the month at 7pm in room 206. Contact Andrea Jarvis.
- Christ Presbyterian Church’s team contact is Elizabeth Mansfield.
- Wooddale Church’s team contact is Worldwide@wooddale.org or 952-944-6300.
Become a Freedom Partner with International Justice Mission
- Nearly 400 people became Freedom Partners (monthly donors) during the Twin Cities Justice Weekend.
More Resources to Read:
- The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation, Jim Martin
- The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance, Bethany Hanke Hoang, Kristen Deede Johnson
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