Darrin Patrick, the Lead Pastor of The Journey kicked off the Together for Adoption Conference with a talk called “The Church & Social Justice.” A lot of the ideas from his talk came from his chapter in the recent book Don’t Call it a Comeback, which is a book definitely worth checking out as a church leader.
I got to give Darrin a ride to the conference and get some time with him, which was very cool. He is really approachable and encouraging. On our ride, he probably said one of the most challenging things to me and encouraging as a leader, he told me, “It’s Christianity, everyone dies.” So right.
His talk focused on how to work out the tension between the gospel and social justice. The tension that lies between loving God and loving people and what the implications are of the gospel on social justice.
Here are some thoughts from his talk:
1 John 3
- This passage shows us that we are God’s children, that we are to resemble Jesus one day, and what we are to do until he comes: word, deed and ministry.
- There is a tension when we try to love God and love people.
- The gospel should drive us to justice.
- The gospel should and does have implications that address the consequences of sin.
- Churches are either bible guys or social justice guys.
- Jesus met physical needs, and their greatest needs of their relationship with the Father.
- If you don’t nail the gospel, social justice will distract you from the gospel.
- People do justice, not to get God’s acceptance, but because they have God’s acceptance.
- The gospel is not just what happens when you die, but what happens if you have to live tomorrow.
- The screensaver of the human heart is works righteousness. If you aren’t clear about what the gospel is, it is about Jesus and what he’s done, if they don’t get it, they will default to thinking they are right with God by doing foster care, feeding the poor, teaching in the inner city.
- Tim Keller has 4 domains that social justice falls into: service (food, shelter, clothing), mercy (meeting consequences of sin), neighbors (near us, not just people like us, but those we rub shoulders with), and justice.
- If you aren’t doing justice in your neighborhood, don’t do it in your city.
- Social injustice is taking advantage of people who are physically disabled, poor, orphans, under resourced.
- Biblical social justice is meeting basic needs for those who dont’ have them and fighting systematic oppression that keeps these people from getting their needs met.
- The church is called first and foremost to proclaim the gospel.
- The most loving thing we can do for the poor is proclaim the truth about Christ.
- You must not use social justice to avoid the offense of the cross.
- It will be a problem that you follow Jesus and do social justice ministry, it will be a problem in the city you live in because the gospel is offensive.
- The best thing you can do is plant churches.
- Church planting draws high caliber leaders, entrepreneurial leaders.
- The “institutional” church must equip individuals who will become the “organic” church.
- What would happen in our cities if people looked to the church first when they asked a question on anything?