The technical, tactical, and practical of The Just Life ministry encompasses five interconnected “change agent” engagement strategies; each with their own part to play in a holistic vision for transformational justice ministry:
These building blocks are Justice Initiatives, Professional Fellowships, Missional Entrepreneurs, Community Development, and Advocacy. More information can be discovered by exploring the categories in the main navigation of this website.
Justice Initiatives: Issues engaged
Passion centric groups made up of all walks of life who have come together to creatively respond to specific injustices typically make up the largest part of a local meet-up of The Just Life. The big three issues of race, poverty and gender are often addressed through more specific problems such as: disease, education, homelessness, hunger/clean water, human trafficking, bioethics, immigration, politics, special needs, war/genocide, and the environment.
Professional Fellowships: Capital leveraged
Inevitably we need to bring our best minds together to engage specific structural issues. A fundamental development goal of The Just Life community is the creation of “fellowships” within local communities in order to work through how to use specific gifts and callings to live a life of love and justice. These fellowships typically form organically as the initiatives reach a point where specific professional talents need to be brought to bear on the issues. These fellowships are limited only by the professional acumen of a given community. Primarily intended as edification within the specific complexities of each profession they are not meant to simply feed the justice initiatives with talent. However, that sense of purpose is what keeps these groups strong and functioning. Fellowships often are organized categorically: Builders, Business, Child Development, Communications/Creative, Educators, Financial Services, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Legal, Public Policy, Real Estate, Social Entrepreneurs, Social Work, etc.
Social Entrepreneurs: Tools and Technology applied
Social enterprise is not a new idea, but the recent explosive growth in the concept as a movement has made it a fundamental element of modern justice ministry with exciting potential yet to be explored. Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry. Distinct from a business entrepreneur who sees value in the creation of new markets, the social entrepreneur aims for value in the form of transformational change that will benefit disadvantaged communities and ultimately society at large. Social entrepreneurs pioneer innovative and systemic approaches for meeting the needs of the marginalized, the disadvantaged and the disenfranchised – populations that lack the financial means or political clout to achieve lasting benefit on their own. Social entrepreneurs are:
- Ambitious: Social entrepreneurs tackle major social issues, from increasing the college enrollment rate of low-income students to fighting poverty in developing countries. These entrepreneurial leaders operate in all kinds of organizations: innovative nonprofits, social purpose ventures such as for-profit community development banks, and hybrid organizations that mix elements of nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
- Mission driven: Generating social value -not wealth- is the central criterion of a successful social entrepreneur. While wealth creation may be part of the process, it is not an end in itself. Promoting systemic social change is the real objective.
- Strategic: Like business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs see and act upon what others miss: opportunities to improve systems, create solutions and invent new approaches that create social value. And like the best business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs are intensely focused and hard-driving-even relentless-in their pursuit of a social vision.
- Resourceful: Because social entrepreneurs operate within a social context rather than the business world, they have limited access to capital and traditional market support systems. As a result, social entrepreneurs must be exceptionally skilled at mustering and mobilizing human, financial and political resources.
- Results oriented: Ultimately, social entrepreneurs are driven to produce measurable returns. These results transform existing realities, open up new pathways for the marginalized and disadvantaged, and unlock society’s potential to effect social change.
Community Developers: Spaces and Places renewed
The philosophy known as Christian Community Development is not a concept that was developed in a classroom, nor formulated by people foreign to the poor community. It is based on Biblical, practical principles evolved from years of living and working among the poor by John Perkins in Mississippi. CCD was conceived through the ministry of John and Vera Mae Perkins and has a proven track record with over 600 models around the country making great progress in communities devastated by poverty. CCD has eight essential components that have evolved over the last forty years. The first three are based on John Perkins’ Three R’s of community development: relocation, reconciliation and redistribution. The rest have been developed by many Christians working together to find ways to rebuild poor neighborhoods: 1. Church–Based, 2. Presence in the Community (Relocation), 3. Reconciliation, 4. Listening to the Community, 5. Wholistic Approach, 6. Empowerment, 7. Leadership Development, 8. Redistribution.
Advocacy: Legal, Political, Institutional, and Systemic Change
As a justice ministry The Just Life is always pushing toward systemic change and the redemption of structures. Particularly in America, that drive inevitably leads to engaging the legal and political system to affect laws, programs, and policies. We must pick up the mantle of nonviolent social change from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and add to it our opportunity to leverage influence through involvement in the political process. The Church has always had a complex and often misguided relationship to American government, nevertheless, American Christians in particular have been given remarkable opportunity to participate in the government and have an added responsibility to make the most of the opportunities that democracy provides – our government provides tools too powerful to pass up. Christians, motivated by faith, are fully justified in taking a public stand for Biblical ideals using legal and political advocacy to directly combat the sinful structures of this world, but they must do so in harmony with democratic principles, as well as with Biblical dignity and respect.