Justice church partnerships

Photo by Kirsten Sturdivant

This weekend as I was reading Christianity Today, I was struck by a quote from an interview with Princeton’s Robert Wuthnow based on his new book, Boundless Faith: The Global Outreach of American Churches. It made me think immediately of the difference between shallow justice and deep justice.

Wuthnow suggested:

A generation or two ago, there were fewer churches in a lot of other countries to partner with, and there was more of a perceived need to engage in street evangelism or in starting churches.  But as more so-called ‘indigenous churches’ are out there, it has become possible for American churches to partner with them.

I have a suggestion: how about if we never do justice work without partnering with an indigenous church (assuming one exists in the region in which we’re serving)? How about if we never build a house, pass out evangelistic material, or host a VBS without making sure that a local church can do long-term follow-up?  That’s a good, and not all that difficult, way to move from drive-by mission work to long-term, systemic impact in a community.

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