I was at a leadership conference at the end of last week. Two days, nine sessions, 11 speakers (I think) . . . it was a lot to take in . . . and I've spent most of the past week trying to process through it all. That's something that I'm definitely still working on. I think it's going to take a while.
One of the things that really jumped out at me was the theme of social justice. It seemed to come up in so many of the sessions. While hoping to provide tools for us to learn from to be better leaders, many of the speakers also had call to be involved in righting the injustices of our world. It's something that has just really stuck with me since then.
It reminded me of the words to one of my favourite songs
God of justice, Savior to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Came to serve and not be served
. . .
We must go
Live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go
The first time I heard this song (God of Justice by Tim Hughes) those words just really struck me. And they were brought to mind again this past week with all of the call to be involved in social justice in our world.
The past couple of days, that song has become my sort of theme song for my life. I find it so easy to just get caught up in my life and forget about what is going on in the rest of the world. Even with my job and being face-to-face with some of the injustice in North America everyday, I find it so easy to forget what we are called to in Scripture. In some ways, I think my seeing it everyday when I go to work, makes it even easier for me to turn a blind eye to it all. That is not what I want to happen.
Anyways, back to this leadership conference I was at. The second speaker was the president/CEO of International Justice Mission which is an organization that operates all over the world working to free people from slavery and forced prostitution (read more here). He was talking about leadership that matters - that makes a difference. He talked about how this means that we continue to lead, even when the calling seems hopeless, scary, and hard. He also talked about how we can do this. And we lead in these situations by remembering where our hope lies and that the work we are doing is God's and we don't have to make it happen.
There was one thing he said that really hit me, and it was this: "Jesus didn't come to make us safe, He came to make us brave." It's so clear in Scripture that Jesus didn't call us to some safe thing where we sit in our own little group where we all believe the same thing. Jesus calls us to something that is counter-cultural, that requires that we take risks - it's not safe to follow Jesus!
I think often this is something that the Church (not a building, but the community of all believers), particularly in the West where being a Christian is relatively easy, struggles with a lot. We are okay leading when things are easy and everything is going according to plan. But, when we're faced with the injustice going on around the world, and even in our own communities to some extent, we get scared and lose hope that we can make a difference. But, these are exactly the situations where we need to step up and take the lead.
We should be working against injustice not sitting idly by as it happens!!! God is a God of justice and He uses us to make a difference in the injustice that is happening in our world. As a Church we need to step up and make that difference! Whether it be through financially supporting ministries that seek to right the injustices of our world or thtough getting personally involved in seeking to right the injustices of our world. We may not be able to stop all injustice, but we have to do our part!!!