Create A Faith-Driven, Justice-Loving Congregation
JustFaith Ministries help depoliticize the 'why' of issues like poverty, hunger and homelessness
Dom Helder Camara, a Roman Catholic archbishop, once wryly noted, “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.” Put another way, we often treat the symptoms of a problem without dealing with its cause. A passionate sense of charitable love drives the first; a strong sense of godly justice drives the latter – and both are needed.
Participating in God’s mission is at the very heart of what United Methodists believe is vital to faith. However, it is one thing to respond to a need and a very different thing to try to understand why this need exists in the shape that it does.
JustFaith Ministries (JFM) programs invite and prepare people of faith for the life-changing, world-changing call of the Gospel to help heal the world and, in so doing, experience a deeper spirituality, a more fulfilling life and a community of care and vitality. With the guidance of JFM's small-group programs, participants are better prepared to do justice in their local communities and are equipped with practical tools to take effective action.
Rev. Jeremy Basset, disaster response coordinator for the North Texas Conference, recalls facing the challenge of doing charity and justice together in a local church he served. “Charitable acts were eagerly and genuinely embraced – with generosity and without any judgment. However, exploring the ‘why’ behind such things as poverty, hunger and homelessness often evoked comments about ‘politicizing’ our work or not believing that was the church’s proper work.
“We needed a process that took the unnecessary ‘heat’ out of the justice part of our work and brought out the Gospel’s challenge of transforming our broken world,” he explained. “We found that in the JustFaith Ministries programs. We discovered that, while each class was made of people across the political spectrum, there was a shared journey into a deeper understanding of our faith.”
Current JFM program topics include: poverty, racial justice, environmental justice, immigration, indigenous justice, advocacy and civil dialogue. Churches can use one of these eight- to 10-week programs to build and expand community both inside and outside the local congregation while addressing critical realities.
The NTC Center for Missional Outreach is offering $300 scholarships to support the cost of the program for the first three churches that commit to hosting a JustFaith Ministries program. These funds can be used to supplement participant registration fees for your small group ($35/person plus two free facilitators) or to supplement the cost of the program books (an average of $30/person).
To claim one of these scholarships for your church, email Rev. Danielle Buwon Kim, NTC associate director for research and development.
Published: Monday, January 29, 2024