My friend Joe Abraham and I were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania this week exploring how to build justice community together. Gospel Justice Initiative (GJI) establishes partnerships with local communities to run legal ministries that free people from legal burdens so they can flourish. Doing justice through the law requires expertise and a team. No one does justice alone.
GJI brings the expertise, the community brings the team, and together we glorify God through powerful kingdom impact. This week’s story is a powerful example that can easily be replicated wherever God has placed you. So don’t sit on the sidelines – do justice. Here’s how to build justice in your community.
Open your business to build justice community.
Meet Josh. He is a realtor with Coldwell Banker. Joe Abraham and I are blessed to serve together on two national boards – GJI and Christian Business Fellowship (CBF). CBF equips, encourages and energizes business leaders to grow their business for the purpose of growing the Kingdom. Business leaders come together to receive powerful teaching, seek specific Christian business advice from a peer group, enjoy fellowship, and learn ways to create legacy impact through the business God has given them.
CBF has a chapter in Lancaster which Joe and I were visiting and providing a presentation on the deeper legacy impact business can have in the community. One way is by leveraging resources to launch a legal ministry. An initial investment of $5,000 yields on average $300,000 in donated legal services to the community and $70,000 of saved community resources. Additionally it equips a team of people to bring the help of a lawyer and the hope of the gospel into the fear that comes with our legal system.
Visit our business page to meet my friend Joe and learn more about this legacy impact opportunity.
Another way a business can have impact is by making their space available. Allow a team to use the space one Saturday a month for 3 or 4 hours. All that is needed is a reception area, private meeting space, internet access and a copier. God blessed Josh and Coldwell Banker with a beautiful space, recently renovated, in an easily accessible downtown location. Josh immediately seized the opportunity to use the space to minister to neighbors in need. He led Joe and I on a tour of the space which will bless many people in days to come.
Use your law degree to build justice community.
Meet Alyssa and another Josh. Alyssa is graduating from law school, Josh is an attorney with years of experience. Both understand God provided them the skills and abilities they possess. Both want to use those skills to provide for their needs and promote justice for the poor and vulnerable.
Alyssa is moving to Delaware this summer as she takes her bar exam and begins work in a corporate firm. Her passion is service. She has served in a Veteran’s Clinic and presently with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Wherever God takes her she wants to be able to give back to help those in need of access to justice.
Visit our lawyer page to meet other lawyers doing justice and to learn more.
Josh is in private practice with an emphasis in criminal and family work. Knowing there are resources to support him in areas outside his expertise, insurance to cover his volunteer activity, and a team to provide support, makes it easy for him to live out his desire to serve. Pennsylvania, like most states, helps him volunteer by supporting limited scope assistance and wide latitude to non-subject matter experts serving in advice-only settings (Rule 1.2(c), Professional Rules of Responsibility). Rule 6.5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Responsibility encourages involvement in not for profit programs of short-term limited legal services including specifically advice and the completion of legal forms.
As other lawyers learn of the opportunity to serve they will join in advancing justice for neighbors in need. If you are in the Lancaster area – be one of those attorneys.
Use your gifts to build justice community.
Meet Chuck, Chris and Denise. They will be justice team leaders. No lawyer can serve alone. They need a team to provide holistic support. Support for senior citizens paralyzed by fear of pressing legal issues relating to health and finances. A team to provide support for single moms struggling with issues surrounding their children, support and finances. Support for immigrants and others facing exploitation and abuse. A team to support our modern widow, fatherless, alien and poor.
Chuck was a missionary to Peru. He is fluent in Spanish and has a heart for Latinos. Many live in Lancaster. He is a prayer champion. Someone who serves like a chaplain to listen, pray with and encourage those overwhelmed by legal burdens. Chuck is nearly 80 years young. He believes God is not finished with him yet and wants to be useful. He has a friend in his 50s with severe Parkinson’s which sensitized him to legal challenges and needs.
Chris runs a company that provides outsource paralegal, research and writing services for lawyers. He ministers in the local jail. Many years ago he was a prisoner and knows well the fear, burdens and challenges facing those reentering from prison. He is a great connector of resources which is perfect as a client advocate. An advocate ensures clients understand their plan moving forward and connects them with further resources for social, spiritual and legal assistance. God used the darkest place in Chris’s life to prepare him as a messenger of hope for others.
Visit our advocate page to learn more and get involved.
Denise is a paralegal. She is truly a justice champion. We need champions to serve as local leaders and coordinators of the ministry. Denise is a domestic violence survivor. She suffered terribly in our broken court system and knows well the importance of having an attorney to obtain good guidance, direction and counsel. She is eager to use her experience and training to serve others.
Share the opportunity to build justice community with others.
Josh learned of the opportunity to open his business for the community because Joe Abraham opened a door for me to speak at a business gathering. Alyssa and Denise learned of the opportunity over social media – an invitation to learn more. Chuck’s son shared with him the book Gospel Justice which captured Chuck’s heart. Chris learned about the opportunity from a friend who knew his heart and our ministry.
You can be part of God’s story of justice. Share the opportunity over social media. Provide a copy of the book Gospel Justice, or recommend it to someone. Talk to a friend who is passionate about legal justice issues. Invite us to speak. Be a justice champion. Start a gospel justice center in your community.
Building Justice Communities Together.
GJI provides grant funds to launch. A local team operates as an association of GJI and is covered by us for liability. We provide all the tools and training to make serving easy. We also provide access to myself and others who have years of experience and expertise in legal-aid. No one does justice alone. We want to serve together with you. Contact us to get started.
Plan now to attend our one day Restore 117 conference on Thursday, June 8 at Judson University. This is a great opportunity to hear national speakers, worship together, meet those engaged in legal ministry, receive practical advocacy tools, and explore how to impact your community for the Kingdom.
There are neighbors near you who need help. They need you to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. (Prov. 31:8). Allow God to use you to loose the chains of injustice (Isa. 58:6). Together we can “rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isa. 58:12.
Let’s build a foundation of justice in our community. Let’s see people restored as we free them from legal burdens so they can flourish.