WHAT IS A GOSPEL JUSTICE CENTER?
Legal issues are often a root cause of poverty.
1 in 5 Americans qualify for legal help with housing, healthcare, family relationships, and employment. Less than half will find it.
Every second someone is turned away from legal aid due to lack of access.
Our culture debates how to address complex justice issues. But many legal problems have a simple solution - you just need basic legal advice and a plan of action to find freedom.
Our Gospel Justice Centers make doing justice simple for volunteers and churches.
WE ARE CALLED TO SEEK JUSTICE
There are over 2,000 references to seeking justice for the vulnerable in scripture.
You have an incredible opportunity to provide access to justice and Jesus by volunteering at a Gospel Justice Center.
FIND YOUR ROLE
An attorney bringing clarity and a path to justice to clients in the midst of confusing legal circumstances
A discerning listener providing the hope of God's love to clients by connecting them with relevant social/ spiritual resources
A natural connector spreading the word about the Gospel Justice Center by reaching out to service providers and businesses in the community
A prayer champion leading the Gospel Justice Center team and wider church community in praying with and for clients
Client Intake Specialist
Organized administrator passionate about providing logistical support for essential tasks for clients and the Gospel Justice Center team
A welcoming presence creating a warm environment for clients through refreshments, child care, and prayer
God's bridge of understanding facilitating warm and accurate communication between the client and team members
An encourager empowering clients to overcome barriers and take the next steps in their journey to justice
HEAR FROM OUR VOLUNTEERS
HEAR FROM VOLUNTEERS AT ONE CENTER
- Launch a Gospel Justice Center or volunteer at one.
- Become a Prayer Partner and join our weekly prayer Zoom as we ask God to provide justice for the vulnerable. Contact a team member to learn more.
- Raise awareness by leading a book study at your church with one of our AJ Book Club books or Gospel Justice.
- Encourage your pastor to host a Justice Sunday and put a spotlight on God’s heart for justice.
There is a massive civil justice gap in America. In 2020, we ranked 110th out of 128 countries for providing affordable access to justice. Every year, 40 million Americans are turned away from legal help even though they qualify for aid based on their income. Many people need simple legal advice to navigate confusing situations related to housing, family law, and employment, but they cannot afford it.
It is a volunteer legal ministry that provides vulnerable neighbors with legal advice and care from a team at a church. Most centers are open once a month for 3-4 hours. It is also community outreach since neighbors who might never come to the church to see a pastor will come to see a lawyer. The client’s experience can radically change their perception of the church.
Although our centers will advertise that they serve low-income neighbors, they do not require proof of income and will serve anyone who makes an appointment.
A center can be launched with a minimum of 5 people: the Justice Champion (the point person and team builder), the Attorney, the Client Intake Specialist, the Community Advocate, and the Client Advocate. Many centers require an Interpreter as well. Our teams have 9 roles. Some of these roles can be combined and filled by one person (i.e., Prayer Champion and Hospitality Specialist). Some teams have 20+ volunteers, and some are much smaller. To download a summary of each role, click here.
The first step in launching a center is to attend our virtual Explore Gospel Justice webinar to learn how our model provides the help of a lawyer and the hope of God’s love through the home of the church. Following Explore, you can present the idea to your church leadership using provided resources. If there is momentum and you are willing to serve as the Justice Champion, you will be invited to attend the Justice Champion training (online).
To kickstart the launch process, you will sign Articles of Association (which formalizes our relationship and provides insurance coverage for your volunteers) with Administer Justice. Our team will fully equip you to build a team of volunteers, get them trained, conduct a Mock Launch, and then launch with a Grand Opening.
Most centers open once a month on a Saturday morning from 9-12 noon. Other centers meet on a weeknight from 5-8 pm.
Space: The church needs an open space to serve as a reception area with a cart or table to provide hospitality (coffee, water, snacks) and items for children to play with as they wait. A table will be needed for the Client Intake Specialist to enter data into a laptop. A minimum of two additional spaces/rooms are needed for the Attorney and the Client Advocate. Finally, a small storage space (for supplies and the retractable banner) is helpful.
Equipment: Our database system that securely stores client information is cloud-based and requires internet access. The database is mobile friendly, so volunteers are encouraged to use their phone or personal laptop. Occasionally, access to a printer is useful for client resources (though not necessary).
It costs $5,000 to launch a center, but this cost is usually covered by a donor. This donation pays for a center’s insurance, client scheduling system, client database, communication technology, individualized website, initial supplies and materials, site banner, volunteer training, National Support Center assistance, and other support. Sometimes the host church wants to pay the cost as a way of investing in the center and community, but that is not required. The only ongoing cost for the church is paper and supplies once the original launch kit resources are depleted.
Clients pay a $30 copay for their appointment, and these fees allow the centers to be self-sustaining. The copays are paid to Administer Justice for the ongoing cost of insurance, database, and other support systems. The collected fees are the only ongoing fees between the center and the National Support Center.
All our volunteers are trained through our online AJ Academy with short courses for each role that can be accessed at any time. Additionally, our Justice Champion will have two scheduled orientations to understand the launch process and the systems used for appointments.
Administer Justice actively networks with Christian attorneys to help resource churches looking to launch a center. Many churches have attorneys that will hear about the opportunity to serve and want to learn more. We have created resources to help explain the model specifically to attorneys that will be shared with the Justice Champion as part of the training. While it is ideal that the attorney be a part of the host church, that is not always possible.
We created a webpage just for attorneys who are exploring our model. You can find that here.
Yes! The book Gospel Justice, written by our Founder and CEO Bruce Strom, is an excellent way to engage others, and our YouTube channel has many excellent videos that share client stories and God’s heart for justice. Our website has resources for hosting a Justice Sunday with curriculum for children and youth, sermon and service resources, and a list of songs for worship. And finally, we have an AJ Book Club with recommended books for reading.
“I remember so well going to school each day… proudly saying the pledge of allegiance… ‘with liberty and justice for all’. It would be many years before I realized that simply wasn’t true.”
Bruce Strom| CEO, Administer Justice | Author, Gospel Justice
ACCESS TO JUSTICE
WHY DOES EQUAL ACCESS MATTER?
Think of it this way: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a life – UNLESS he has no access to the river. Without access, any help provided is in vain and justice cannot roll on like a mighty river.
Pull together friends to go deeper and understand why Dr. Tony Evans says, “Bruce Strom’s exposition of the Scripture and application to the poor is spectacular.”
Joining together to Provide Help & Hope for those Oppressed by Legal Injustice
by Bruce D. Strom
Gospel Justice Companion Guide
by Bruce D. Strom