Archive for the tag “Ed Stetzer”

True justice points people toward Jesus the Just

Ed Stetzer writes in Sojourners magazine about new research documenting “a growing awareness of and involvement in social justice ministries among Protestant churches in the United States”:

handsTHE LEADERSHIP of 12Stone Church, a multi-campus congregation based in Gwinnett County, Ga., became increasingly concerned about how home foreclosures, rampant unemployment, and other financial strains were impacting families in metro Atlanta. They set an ambitious goal of providing relief to 5,000 families in their church and community. Eventually they raised more than $550,000 through designated gifts, many from church members who were themselves unemployed. …

Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., has mercy ministries built into the DNA of the church. They’ve adapted Rick Warren’s PEACE Plan: plant churches, evangelize the world, aid the poor and sick, care for the orphan and the oppressed, and equip leaders.

Working through the Raleigh-based nonprofit Help One Now, Imago Dei is partnering with an orphanage in Haiti and sponsoring children. Through this ministry, the church is providing basic needs, including food, clean water, and health care. They also support education programs so that the children will be equipped to one day provide for their own families. …

IMAGO DEI AND 12Stone are only two of the many Protestant churches that are not only talking about caring for others, they are taking action. More churches are finding ways to make social action a natural outflow of their missional response to the world, both locally and globally.

According to a series of telephone surveys conducted by LifeWay Research between 2008 and 2012, there is a growing awareness of and involvement in social justice ministries among Protestant churches in the United States, aimed at caring for the forgotten, disenfranchised, and oppressed.

Almost all—95 percent—of the 1,000 or more Protestant senior pastors we surveyed agreed that caring for the poor is mandated by the gospel. When pastors believe this, their churches tend to care more about social justice issues. Studies show the percentage of churches engaged in care for the poor has increased over the past four years. In 2012, 90 percent of Protestant pastors said their churches had “mobilized its members to directly engage and care for the poor in their communities,” up from 76 percent in 2009 and 85 percent in 2010.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Three girls in Cleveland … and millions worldwide

help-meEd Stetzer writes:

Like most of the world, I’m horrified that a monster kidnapped and abused three girls (my daughter’s age when taken) in Cleveland. Join me in praying for these girls, their children, and their parents. The road ahead of them is long.

I held my daughters a little closer and prayed for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight (names matter– they are real people, not objects).

I cannot help thinking about the fact that this is, well, a horrible reality for several other families across the world. Yes, it is unusual that a man kidnapped and help hostage in this manner in a major American city, but kidnapping and sexual slavery is not unheard of– it is shockingly common around the world.

You just don’t hear about it because it is done as a business and not as a news story playing out on global television. But sexual slavery is a very real occurrence every day– and it is not what many people think. And, though trafficking may not have been involved here, it is deeply connected to such crimes globally.

Ed concludes with excellent thoughts about related statistics and solutions, which you can read by clicking here.
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The small things of God’s kingdom

Ed Stetzer writes:

The small interaction of disciples, lives, and groups is what makes their life together matter.

But that’s what makes the kingdom of God so baffling and backward-sounding to most people. Successful kingdom activity doesn’t have to come with brisk retail sales, a snazzy logo, celebrity endorsements, and a marketing campaign. It doesn’t have to generate ten million user hits or get written up in Newsweek. In fact, it’s often just the opposite. Kingdom work is typically most recognizable by how small it is.

As agents of transformation in God’s subversive kingdom, we don’t have to apologize for being few in number, focusing on one little area or need around us, making what seems to be a small impact. Our King’s own teaching tells us not to be thrown off or discouraged by worldly perspectives that minimize what we’re doing or try to stop us from getting started altogether, making us perceive our kingdom work as being too insignificant to matter.

Small strides are actually God’s deliberate design for effective growth. It’s how his kingdom happens. Jesus was born in a manger in a little town on the backside of nowhere, and today more than a billion people on the planet consider themselves His followers. That’s kingdom economy. A mustard seed “becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches” (v. 32). Little by little it produces shocking, unexpected growth until “birds of every kind will nest under it”– representing all the nations of the world–“taking shelter in the shade of its branches” (Ezek. 17:23).

Read more here.

For information about Ed’s new book, The Subversive Kingdom, click here.

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