With so many ministry opportunities in the world today, why consider establishing a gospel justice center in your church? May I provide four quick ideas that might have a profound impact in your church and community?
1. The church has great opportunity to be known for what it is for in the world today instead of what it is against. One of the greatest unmet needs in a community today is legal and when people from the community see a church opening its doors to serve practical needs while praying and sharing the hope of the gospel, powerful ministry takes place.
2. If a church has attorneys in the church then there is no better opportunity for them to use the gifts God has provided to be Good Samaritans reflecting the Great Samaritan. Legal aid is an area where lawyers can uniquely use their gifts to serve the Kingdom. They can help get to the root of problems freeing people from perpetually needing benevolence assistance while empowering them to move forward in dignity.
3. Individuals experiencing legal problems are overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. They come carrying their hearts in their hands looking for hope. Some of the most impactful service a church-based legal ministry can provide is prayer and compassion. God is not absent in the midst of trials but He has promised to walk with them through the trials if they will surrender to him. The last thing someone expects from a lawyer is compassion and prayer. The ministry impact is significant. Kellye Fabian who serves on GJI’s board of directors shares this as she discusses the impact of Willow Creek’s legal aid ministry.
4. A church-based legal services ministry is not just for lawyers. We help the church assemble a team to support the ministry which can involve whole groups of people in learning more about legal injustice in the local community, God’s heart for justice, and practical ways to engage from prayer to action. Foreign missions are powerful but expensive and limited. A local legal aid ministry is inexpensive and can mobilize many in the work of the Kingdom.
A new report from Michigan this week demonstrates the power that comes from self-help guidance. Some lawyers think a time-limited advice and referral ministry may have limited impact. In truth our friends in the non-Christian world demonstrate that with guidance low-income individuals can navigate the system effectively. They just need direction and help cutting through information overload. Lawyers can do that. Our friends in the non-Christian world miss the greatest opportunity which is to demonstrate true compassion, and offer hope, to a wounded neighbor in need. Some lawyers aren’t great at that, but that is why there is a ministry team in place to demonstrate the love of God in a real way to hurting people.
Our prayer is that you will explore this ministry opportunity for your church. Visit our events page to see if we are hosting a conference in your area which provides the framework and addresses practical questions for beginning this ministry. If we are not in the area please consider hosting such a conference. There is no cost to the host church. Contact Brent Amato, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Why should my church engage in gospel justice ministry? Why not! “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Mic. 6:8. What a great opportunity to do that. To bring the hope of the gospel, the help of a lawyer, and the support of a church together to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly beside broken lives in need. I hope you’ll consider joining us as together we
Go and Do Likewise.