Mark Miller is an author and pastor at Life Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He recently spoke at a breakout sesssion at SHIFT on the topic of “Engaging Students in Global Justice.” In it, he discussed his own journey of discovering global justice being much more than a political issue; it’s a deeply spiritual one. He also discussed the excitement about a new generation of students who are passionate about following the way of Jesus by serving the needs of the world. Here’s a balanced interview with him that helps us understand what’s happening with students today.

Click here to get a link to the podcast.

New Generations International, a church planting organization, suggests the following 5 steps in their church planting process–a process that begins with service. Each of these steps are part of a simple process we could use to help launch missional teams to new locations.

1. Begin with Compassionate Service. As Jesus went from village to village, he was moved by compassion, encasing his preaching and teaching in an environment of healing. When Jesus sent out he 72 disciples in Luke 10, he told them to pronounce peace, healing the sick and saying, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you.’ It is the light of “good works” shining before others that opens the door to the Father’s glory.

2. Build Relationships. Once we are accepted, the key to everything is relationships. As we build relationships with many, we will find the men and women who will serve as “persons of peace” to help us bring the Gospel to the whole community.

3. Launch Avenues for Discovery & Obedience. Look for ways to facilitate the personal discovery of God’s will. Begin to preach and teach the Scriptures in such a way that God begins to speak for Himself and draw people to himself in ever increasing obedience to Jesus.

4. Develop the Inside Leaders with a Movement Planting vision and capacity. As men and women begin to obey God over time, focus more and more time on developing them as “leaders” who will continue to reproduce ever more churches and movements.

5. Multiply at every level. Reproduction is critical–disciples making other disciples, leaders developing other leaderships, movements launching other movements.

Do you have a burden for the poor or others in the margins of society and want to get students involved?

Here’s a list of potential partners – it’s from World Magazine’s “Profiles in Effective Compassion” (’06 & ’07). These groups are offering tangible help, seeing long-term results, and “soaking every activity with the gospel.” Most are local, but some national or international – check out their websites.

  • Bay Area Rescue Mission, Richmond, CA
  • Jobs for Life, Raleigh, NC
  • Rachel’s House, Columbus, OH
  • CityTeam Ministries, Chester, PA
  • Manoomin Project, Marquette, MI
  • Earth Keeper Project, Livonia, MI
  • Christian Women’s Job Corps, Nashville, TN
  • (Google the Rest)
  • A Hand Up for Women, Knoxville, TN
  • Guiding Light Mission, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Habitat for Humanity, Flint, MI
  • Mission Solano, Fairfield, CA
  • Urban Promise, Camden, NJ
  • Truth Seekers, Memphis, TN
  • A Way Out, Memphis, TN
  • Crossroads Center Rescue Mission, Hastings, NE
  • Citizens for Community Values, Memphis, TN
  • Neighborhood Christian Center, Inc., Memphis, TN
  • Mariner’s Church Lighthouse Community Center, Santa Ana, CA (50 programs focused on Minnie Street)
  • St. Francis Center, Redwood, CA
  • Mile High Ministries, Denver, CO
  • Interfaith Housing Coalition, Dallas, TX
  • Christian Women’s Job Corps of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, TN
  • Victory Trade School, Springfield MO
  • Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Little Rock, AR
  • Happy Hands Education Center (Ministry to the deaf), Tulsa, OK
  • Vision Youthz, San Francisco, CA

Look for service opportunities that:

  • Connect students with people and where there’s potential for long-term relationships to develop
  • Unbelievers can be invited to join you
  • Students can be equipped to connect the story of Jesus with the stories of people they serve

These things lead to long-term solutions and impact, to transformed lives, and to people coming into the Kingdom.–Chip S.

We’re all trying to find ways of expressing clearly the notion of a holistic gospel. I ran across the following description of a division of books within NavPress. I thot the words helpful, as it expresses Jesus’ model of life and ministry–as the incarnate Son of God living life as we should. Of course, any 40 line summary will not also capture Jesus’ uniqueness as God and Savior, as atoning sacrifice for sins, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, etc.

From the very beginning, God created humans to love him and each other. He intended for his people to be a blessing to everyone on earth so that everyone would know him (see Genesis 12:2). Jesus also taught this over and over and promised to give his people all they needed to make it happen—his resources, his power and his presence (see Matthew 28:20 and John 14:12-14). NavPress Deliberate takes him at his word and stirs its readers to do the same—to be the Children of God for whom creation is groaning to be revealed. We have only to glance through the Bible to discover what it looks like to be the blessing God has intended: caring for the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner, and foreigner (see Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:31-46, Isaiah 58); and redeeming the world—everyone and everything in it (Colossians 1:19-20, Romans 8:19-23 are examples).

Deliberate books explore the mystery of faith and how to actively live it out. As we plumb the mystery, we use Jesus as our guide—a man who, after spending 40 days of solitary contemplation in the desert, announced:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”— Luke 4:18-19

So began a career that is a study of profound faith in action, a perfect blend of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. He broke firm Jewish mores when he talked to the Samaritan woman alone at the well. He upset the unholy money making in the temple. He left everyone speechless when he defended the woman who slept around. He helped everyone he came across on his way to visit a dying friend. He taught through stories and riddles. He told his followers to love their enemies. He treated party-goers at a wedding reception to the best wine late in the evening.

Jesus told us to live like he did and to do even greater things. He told us to live deliberately, combining faith and action.

NavPress Deliberate encourages readers to embrace this holistic and vibrant Christian faith: it is both contemplative and active; it unites mystery-embracing faith with theological rootedness; it breaks down the sacred/secular divide, recognizing God’s sovereignty and redemptive work in every facet of life; it dialogues with other faiths and worldviews and embraces God’s truth found there; it creates culture and uses artistic ability to unflinchingly tell the truth about this life and God’s redemption of it; it fosters a faith bold enough to incarnate the gospel in a shrinking and diverse world. NavPress Deliberate is for everyone on a pilgrimage to become like Jesus and to continue his work of living and discipling among all people.

Deliberate is theologically grounded. While exploring the mystery, it is important to be mindful of the signposts God already has placed for us through biblical doctrine and church tradition. This grounding is not wholly limiting, however—it pulls from many traditions, readings, and expressions of Scripture, but it will also “test the spirits” to remain as faithful to God’s Word (both written and incarnated) as possible (1 John 4:1).

Deliberate follows Saint Augustine’s guiding principle:
In essentials, unity;
in non-essentials, liberty;
in all things, charity.

Samuel Morse was an American painter of portraits and historic scenes, the creator of a single wire telegraph system, and co-inventor, with Alfred Vail, of the Morse Code. He made the following observation about William Wilberforce.

Mr. Wilberforce is an excellent man; his whole soul is bent on doing well for his fellow man. Not a moment of his time is lost. He is always planning some benevolent scheme or other and not only planning them but executing them; he is made up altogether of affectionate feeling. What I saw of him in private gave me the most exalted opinion of him as a Christian. Oh, that such men as Mr. Wilberforce were more common in this world. So much human blood would not be shed to gratify the malice and revenge of a few wicked, interested men.

Food for the needy to be brought by college students
About 2,000 needy families living in Twin Cities neighborhoods will get a special delivery from college students on Sunday.
By TIM HARLOW, Star Tribune
Last update: December 27, 2007 – 12:49 PM
About 2,000 needy families living in Twin Cities neighborhoods will get a special delivery from college students on Sunday.
About 1,400 students attending the Twin Cities Xperience, a religious conference put on by Campus Crusade for Christ, will work with volunteers from 40 urban churches to deliver Holiday Care boxes.
The boxes filled with grocery items were put together by volunteers who help out at Here’s Life Inner City, a Minneapolis-based ministry affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ.
The students and church volunteers will make the deliveries starting at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

College Students Distribute Care Boxes In Greensboro
About 1,000 students distributed holiday care boxes in Greensboro Sunday. They gave them out to people who live in government housing.
Greensboro, NC — College campuses are empty right now as students spend their holidays with family and friends. But, students from colleges in seven states chose to spend part of their break in the Triad.
About 1,000 students distributed holiday care boxes in Greensboro Sunday. They gave them out to people in need. The students are part of the Campus Crusade for Christ. They’re in town for a conference. This is their outreach project.
They gave out more than 700 boxes. Each one is filled with about $25 worth of food and a Bible.
“It’s just good to go out and just to talk to people, even if it’s not about the Lord, even if you don’t get into that conversation, it’s just really good to go and just to show that you love them,” said Katie Simmons, a senior at Winthrop University.
The students conducted community surveys. They plan to help people find local churches and organizations to help address concerns. Several local churches will collect food to distribute to families.
The students also went to middle-class neighborhoods to distribute 500 batteries for smoke detectors.
This is the seventh year the conference has been held in Greensboro. Campus Crusade for Christ holds 10 conferences around the country each year.
Source: WFMY News 2
Copyright: 2007

Many of us are wrestling with a new way of thinking. We’ve embraced in the past the fundraising maxim that “within 5 miles of every campus exist the financial resources to reach the campus with the Gospel.”

Marrty Dormish (Staff STINT–Barcelona) suggests reversing the thinking to help our college ministries think of ways to be a blessing, to extend the rule and reign of God on their campus and in their surrounding communities.

Marrty suggests that we start believing that “resources exist on every college campus to help transform, restore and heal the cities and towns in which these institutions of higher learning exist.”

If we see our ministries through a more “externally-focused” grid, we might see new ways of expanding the “passionate proclamation and compassionate demonstration” of the gospel both on the campus and in the surrounding community. For example, our campus movement could help mobilizing the campus and the resources of the campus to transform the slums nearby, to help care for those in need of social work, to build houses, to reclaim run-down property, to teach kids how to read, to help the uninsured get treatment…and on and on. Thanks Marrty.

Leslie Newbigin was a career missionary in India. Upon returning to his native England, he found a different country than he had left. Pluralism and relativism had seeped into the mainstream culture and more and more people thought of Christianity as nice, but certainly not necessary. As he sought to bring the gospel back to his secularized nation this was part of his answer.

Leslie Newbigin points out that the separation experienced between evangelicalism and the so called “social gospel,” is unfortunate and must be reversed.

“If we turn to the Gospels we are bound to note the [undeniable connection] between deeds and words. A very large part of the first three Gospels is occupied with the acts of Jesus – acts of healing, exorcism, of feeding the hungry. And, while in the fourth Godpel there is a larger proportion of teaching, yet most of this teaching is explanatory of something Jesus has done…”

In the Gospels we come upon a new reality. God has shown up in our world. As He is here, he does and says things that represent a new kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. “The presence of that new reality is attested by the mighty works of the Jesus, which in turn calls for the explanation which is the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom.”

The Roots of Parish Social MissionThe roots of this call to justice and charity are in the Scriptures, especially in the Hebrew prophets and the life and words of Jesus. Parish social ministry has clear biblical roots.

In the gospel according to Luke, Jesus began his public life by reading a passage from Isaiah that introduced his ministry and the mission of every parish. The parish must proclaim the transcendent message of the gospel and help:

* bring “good news to the poor” in a society where millions lack the necessities of life;

* bring “liberty to captives” when so many are enslaved by poverty, addiction, ignorance, discrimination, violence, or disabling conditions;
* bring “new sight to the blind” in a culture where the excessive pursuit of power or pleasure can spiritually blind us to the dignity and rights of others; and
* “set the downtrodden free” in communities where crime, racism, family disintegration, and economic and moral forces leave people without real hope (cf. Lk 4:18).

Our parish communities are measured by how they serve “the least of these” in our parish and beyond its boundaries-the hungry, the homeless, the sick, those in prison, the stranger (cf. Mt 25:31). Our local families of faith are called to “hunger and thirst for justice” and to be “peacemakers” in our own communities (c£ Mt 5:6,9). A parish cannot really proclaim the gospel if its message is not reflected in its own community life. The biblical call to charity, justice, and peace claims not only each believer, but also each community where believers gather for worship, formation, and pastoral care.

Over the last century, these biblical mandates have been explored and expressed in a special way in Catholic social teaching. The central message is simple: our faith is profoundly social. We cannot be called truly “Catholic” unless we hear and heed the Church’s call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace. We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission of bringing “good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind” (cf. Lk 4:18).

The Church teaches that social justice is an integral part of evangelization, a constitutive dimension of preaching the gospel, and an essential part of the Church’s mission. The links between justice and evangelization are strong and vital. We cannot proclaim a gospel we do not live, and we cannot carry out a real social ministry without knowing the Lord and hearing his call to justice and peace. Parish communities must show by their deeds of love and justice that the gospel they proclaim is fulfilled in their actions. This tradition is not empty theory; it challenges our priorities as a nation, our choices as a Church, our values as parishes. It has led the Church to stand with the poor and vulnerable against the strong and powerful. It brings occasional controversy and conflict, but it also brings life and vitality to the People of God. It is a sign of our faithfulness to the gospel.

The center of the Church’s social teaching is the life, dignity, and rights of the human person. We are called in a special way to serve the poor and vulnerable; to build bridges of solidarity among peoples of differing races and nations, language and ability, gender and culture. Family life and work have special places in Catholic social teaching; the rights of the unborn, families, workers, immigrants, and the poor deserve special protection. Our tradition also calls us to show our respect for the Creator by our care for creation and our commitment to work for environmental justice. This vital tradition is an essential resource for parish life. It offers a framework and direction for our social ministry, calling us to concrete works of charity, justice, and peacemaking.4