Recently, I’ve read Deep Justice in a Broken World. I’ve had my Taylor students working though it. Of course, I’m learning more from teaching it than they are. They are brilliant, I’m not. So, I have more to learn.
The core idea of this beast is that there are three levels of service. The first is physical, and it like giving food out at a food pantry. Excellent ministry, and one of my favorite service opportunities at our church! The second level is relational. This is more of befriending the folks who are hungry, and helping them learn to grow their own garden. You hang with them in the training time, and then stay with them afterwards. I am not nearly as good at this level. The third level is systemic, and this is the farthest from my current lifestyle. This is asking why the people are hungry to begin with, and then doing the long term work to fix the systems around them. Political, social, anthropological, etc. It’s working to find what are the reasons working men and women still can’t feed their kids? What is taking their money, and how do we help rectify that situation?
The book challenges that all three are the realm of a solid, Biblical youth ministry. Man, that hurts. We are barely scraping 1/3 of that calling. So, I’m looking at it and praying about it. I want to dismiss the whole thing as socialism run amok, and unrealistic for kids. But, I know better. We are called to defend the poor, the widow, and the oppressed. You can only help the oppressed by resolving the oppression. So it is with this that I am wrestling.
What does this look like in Shelbyville? What do we need to meet physically, then emotionally, and then systematically? We have a growing homeless population. I know we must do something. So we are. We will start with what we know, and trust that as we seek, ask, study, and look, God will show us the next piece.
What about you? Your ministry? What will you do?