Launching Justice Movements

Is it possible to win students to Christ, build them up in their faith and send them out to change the world through justice movements?

Libby Swenson, USCM-IJM Partnership Coordinator, asks that question. Then she answers it in her compelling article Launching Justice Movements. She shows how Cru staff and students can help stem the tide of human trafficking, which is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. I am including excerpts of Libby’s article. You can find the entire article at CruPress Green when you search for “justice”.

Launching Justice Movements

Modern-day slavery, human trafficking, forced prostitution.  From the fourteen year-old girl in Southeast Asia who is sold into a brothel, to the widow inAfrica whose home has been illegally taken and is forced into the streets with her children, to a man in South Asia whose entire family is forced to work in a brick kiln under brutal violence: these are stark realities of the oppression that millions of people created in the image of God suffer today.  Realities that grieve the heart of God.  Students of this generation (both Christian and non-Christian) are more aware of these injustices than any other generation before them.  As a result, they want to be a part of helping to change the world in significant ways. They realize that the world does not have to be as it is; that people do not have to be enslaved, sold, beaten, abused and have their life, liberty and dignity taken away.  Just as William Wilberforce, the British abolitionist, sacrificed his life to end the British slave trade in the 1800’s, thousands of students want to eradicate world-wide slavery today; they are modern-day abolitionists.

So how can we as Cru Staff members respond? Is there a way that we can come alongside students and make disciples in such a way that injustices around the world actually change? Is it possible to win students to Christ, build them up in their faith and send them out to change the world through justice movements?  How can we work with organizations like International Justice Mission (IJM) to engage students in the reality that God is good, loves the poor, and seeks to bring rescue to the vulnerable?  Can enslaved men, women and children experience freedom through the efforts of students?

Students today are not satisfied with a “proclamation-alone” ministry.  They want to demonstrate the Gospel as well. In order to do this, Cru has unprecedented opportunity to partner with organizations that are experts in the realm of demonstration, like IJM…

Biblical Foundations for Justice

Justice is the mandate that all men,women and children that bear the image of God, have the ability to flourishamong God’s creation, to live without being abused, to exercise power and freedom in their lives.  The Bible provides a very good description of God’s perspective on justice, and the call to every Christian to seek justice…

How can we at Cru become engaged in Justice Movements?

…Cru and IJM are working together to help bring awareness of the issues of injustice IJM confronts while introducing students to the God of justice.  Cru will launch IJM campus movements alongside Cru movements to help build bridges with students in a critical and relevant way and help Christian students to live out the Bible’s call to seek justice…

How does IJM’s work to combat violent oppression relate to Cru’s mission of Turning Lost Students Into Christ-Centered Laborers?  What does it have to do with Cru’s DNA of Win, Build and Send?

It is not only Christian students who care about injustice. Non-Christian students are eagerly as passionate about the problem of injustice like modern-day slavery that IJM seeks to address.  As Christians, we have an unprecedented opportunity to share God’s love with students who are passionate about these issues, while also helping to support IJM’s mission to bring freedom to those enslaved around the world.

Win– by launching IJM movements, students and Staff have easy and very relevant bridges to build with students who do not yet know Christ. We can all gather together with a common cause. The Cru team at Colorado State University had an incredible time of spiritual conversations when they used the Soularium cards during a human traffickingawareness week on campus. Instead of asking the regular Soularium questions, they changed them to these:

  • Which three cards do you think represent justice?
  • Which represent injustice?
  • Which card represents what you think God thinks about injustice?

A Staff member asserted that of all the years that he’s been on Staff, this was by far the best day he’s ever had on campus because engaging students in conversation was incredibly easy and significant.

Build – By helping our students learn how to demonstrate the Gospel while proclaiming it, we are training them for a lifetime of ministry. They will come to better understand Jesus’ own ministry of proclamation and demonstration and have a better grasp on God’s passion for justice. We are developing whole disciples. In essence, we are not only helping students live out Ephesians 2:8-9, we are teaching them to practice verse 10 – that God created us to do good works.

Send – When a student learns about the realities of modern-day slavery, their lives will never be the same. There are many avenues of career and ministry that they can invest their lives in, and we can helpsend them out to the world to transform it…

If you would like to have an IJM Campus Chapter Toolkit or a Justice Week Toolkit (excellent tools for launching an IJM movement on your campus) sent to you, contact Libby Swenson at her website, freedom58project.com.

In corresponding with Libby in writing this tip, she told me that
“Today, 80% of those that are trafficked for sex slavery are women, and 50% of them are minors. That means that the typical slave today is student-age. To me, that radically changes my mindset of slavery. Here we are called to reach students, and millions of them are being sold into slavery! People of all ethnicities are being sold into slavery.”

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