The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation

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9781414371283: The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation
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Are you ready for a new way to seek justice – an ancient way to know God?
Finally, a practical guide on how to do justice and grow in discipleship ―from those on the frontlines of the battle in the world’s darkest and most dangerous places. Jim Martin and International Justice Mission are 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 steps that actually make a difference. Learn how to carry out one of the Bible’s core commands―to seek justice―in a way that amounts to more than mere words and good intentions. In the process, you’ll discover one of the most powerful tools to grow faith and deepen discipleship. In The Just Church, Martin shares tangible, accessible strategies to respond to God’s call to seek justice, defend the widow and orphan, and rescue the oppressed . . . whether in far-off places or right in your own community

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From the Back Cover:

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)

Review:

The American church doesn’t primarily suffer from heresy or persecution but from inaction. Jim Martin’s book is more than a call for Christians to practice Christianity; it’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)

Martin skillfully combines story and Scripture to stir up our hunger for a world in which God’s justice becomes reality. Then he provides a step-by-step manual for satisfying that hunger. Challenging, inspiring, and practical . . . The Just Church will benefit all whose hearts cry out for God’s Kingdom to be made manifest on earth as it is in heaven. (Brad Wong, Lead pastor, The River Church Community, San Jose, CA)

Risk-taking, trouble-seeking, and failure-embracing, Jim Martin casts a bold vision for a justice-seeking church. This compelling pursuit of justice, he reveals, is not simply an outward expression for the church, but a magnetic pole capturing the attention of faith seekers and forging courageous Christians. The Just Church is no mere book; it’s a compass that points us toward God’s heart. (Jay Milbrandt, Director of the Global Justice Program at Pepperdine University School of Law and author of Go and Do)

The Just Church offers insights into a central topic for the next evangelicalism. By connecting discipleship with justice, Jim Martin reveals the high calling for the church to embody God’s justice for the most vulnerable in the world. Clear and workable insights and strategies highlight a book that will become a standard text for pastors and lay leaders. (Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary)

Honest, insightful, and hopeful, The Just Church is a great resource for leaders who long for more than good intentions. Filled with practical principles born from on-the-ground experience, Jim paints a compelling picture of what justice engagement can do in the life of a church. With an honesty that is both vulnerable and courageous, Jim names the fears that trip up many well-intentioned starts. The Just Church gives detailed, biblical principles to help churches move forward, wherever they are on the justice journey. A helpful and needed resource! (Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Program director, Urbana Student Missions Conference, and coeditor of More Than Serving Tea)

In a world facing a courage deficit and humility deficit, Martin invites today’s church to both! The Just Church is a brilliant balance of biblical justice teaching, compelling stories of church communities engaged in fighting injustice, and practical tools needed for the journey. It’s an essential resource for any church leader passionate about God’s global mission. (Tom Lin, Vice president, InterVarsity, and director of the Urbana Student Missions Conference)

This is the book I have been waiting for―a thoughtful and thought-provoking look at how discipleship and justice work are inextricably connected. If your heart has been broken by the news of slavery and abuse around the world, and if you have ever wondered how you can generate or participate in a sustained response to injustice, read this book! Nothing has stretched and grown my faith like my attempts to take God’s heart for justice seriously. This book is an incredibly inspiring resource for doing just that. (Sara Groves, Singer/songwriter)

Jim Martin’s profound book suggests that justice is not only about mission, but also about our own discipleship. Along the way there are many stories of both success and failure, all of which become valuable teaching points. The work of IJM around the world is brilliantly inspiring, and so is this book. The Just Church captures the heartbeat of a commitment to Christ and to his justice movement. (Matt Redman, Worship leader and songwriter)

This is a deeply engaging, exciting, and important book. Martin’s message is simple: faith that seeks justice bears spiritual fruit like joy and deeper faith; but it also can bring about real, vital, powerful, meaningful changes in the world. This is not about some easy profession of faith. It is about a whole church learning to live out what it claims to believe. That means that this book is both clarifying and terrifying in all the right ways.

Martin has a gift for telling simple stories that will change the way you think about everything. On the surface, much of the book is about IJM’s life-changing work around the world, and that makes a good story. But Martin tells about that work in a way that illustrates what it means to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

Many churches are unprepared for the long, slow work of justice. If you recognize your church in that last sentence, this book is the beginning of your training regimen and a guidebook for what to do next. Your church needs this book. (David O’Hara, Associate professor of religion, philosophy, and classics, Augustana College)

If ever there was a time for a deeply thoughtful, energized, and embodied approach for congregations to obey God’s call for justice, it is now. And if ever that approach were offered to us with clarity, conviction, and hope, The Just Church is that offering. In this superb exploration of the indivisible connection between the pursuit of justice and discipleship, Jim Martin deftly weaves story, wisdom, and application, inviting any who read it into God’s heart and God’s world―a world that we in the Western church have ignored for far too long, but can do so no longer. Any local congregation that takes Martin’s work seriously will find itself forever changed. I can only say: be that congregation. (Curt Thompson, MD, Author of Anatomy of the Soul)

The Just Church is as practical as it is transformative. It’s about how discipleship and “doing justice” are linked, and can literally change a congregation from the inside out. I can’t wait to get this book into the hands of the small groups in our church―and to the future pastors in our seminary. (Dr. Stephen Hayner, President, Columbia Theological Seminary)

The Just Church is a valuable tool to get the church engaged in raising disciples who will shine the light and love of Jesus into the darkest places on this planet. I love how Jim Martin has connected justice to discipleship and has given us practical steps for its integration within the local body of Christ. My prayer is that the church will not just rise up, but will lead the way in our pursuit of freedom and justice in our generation. I am thankful that this book was written, because this message is needed . . . for such a time as this. (Eddie Byun, Lead pastor, Onnuri English Ministry, Korea)

Deep spiritual maturity―where God is known intimately, where prayer actually feels like the essential lifeline it truly is, and where joy emerges from the profound sense of having “been in on” King Jesus’ work as he does the seemingly impossible―is not a pursuit for the faint of heart. It requires facing risk, fear, failure, and tragedy. But if we want to experience it, this book shows the way. For the justice journey not only brings hope to victims of abuse; it transforms us profoundly along the road. (Dr. Amy L. Sherman, Senior fellow, Sagamore Institute)

As the church embraces her responsibility to “do justice,” we need experienced voices leading us from awareness to action. In The Just Church, Jim Martin develops a comprehensive, practical, and compelling case for how congregations can reflect God’s heart for the most vulnerable across the street and around the world. I highly commend it to you. (Steve Moore, President, Missio Nexus, and author of Who Is My Neighbor?: Being a Good Samaritan in a Connected World)

The Just Church winsomely presents a rare kind of faith that can not only stem apathy, but can also sustain our work in justice. . . . This alone makes the book worth the read! But Jim, through his experiences as a pastor and an activist, also refuses to let us merely simmer in emotion alone, pressing us toward thoughtful, concrete action. Read, then do. (James Choung, Author of True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In and Real Life: A Christianity Worth Living Out)

The work of compassionate justice is a life-giving expression of the love of God. In this book, Jim provides practical pathways for the church to stay engaged in the work of human care and to embody the very message we all hope to represent. (Charles Lee, CEO, Ideation, and author of Good Idea. Now What?)

Jim Martin understands that following Jesus requires us to move past mere good intentions and into the rewarding adventure of seeking justice and rescue for our neighbors in desperate need. The Just Church not only provides a convincing call to action, but it offers church communities the desperately needed handles to take next steps with clarity and conviction. This is a must-have resource for any who have concern for the oppressed but have felt powerless to act. (Mark Batterson, Lead pastor and New York Times bestselling author)

Justice is about discipleship, and what the world needs most is healthy people following Jesus. Jim Martin loves the local church, and The Just Church is all about equipping and empowering the church to follow where Jesus leads! (Christine Caine, Founder of The A21 Campaign)

If there is an organization with the authority to speak on the church’s pursuit of justice, it is International Justice Mission. If there is a leader with the authority to speak as one who has been there, who has tested it in the local church and seen amazing advances, it is Jim Martin. I wholeheartedly recommend this book! (Ram Gidoomal, Board chair, The Lausanne Movement)

Sara Groves, Singer/songwriterThere is so much injustice in our world today, and organizations like International Justice Mission do a huge amount to fight it, particularly through the work they do to free children, women, and men from slavery; bring the perpetrators to justice; set the captives free; and care for them. I welcome this book as it seeks to help churches get more involved in this issue which is so close to God’s heart. (Nicky Gumbel, Vicar, Holy Trinity, Brompton, UK, and developer of the Alpha Course)

An “elephant in the room” is something huge that most people choose to ignore. Biblical justice could be such an elephant. There are few words that occur more often in the Bible, few things that God tells us more often that he passionately cares about. It is something that every biblical genre talks about somewhere―in the Law, the narratives, the Prophets, the Psalms and wisdom literature, the Gospels and Epistles. But how many “Bible-believing” evangelical churches preach, teach, and act upon it in any serious way? Sadly, very few. This heartwarmingly honest book challenges and encourages churches to take such steps―and gives abundant practical and wise advice on how to do so (and how not to). Compassionate, realistic, down-to-earth, and very easy to read, it speaks powerfully into an issue that is a key part of the church’s integral biblical mission and a stark test of the church’s authenticity and integrity. (Christopher J. H. Wright, International director, Langham Partnership)

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