What is a Justice Revival? (part 5 of 5 by Rich Nathan)

By Rich Nathan 04-16-2008

Jim Wallis, in his book The Great Awakening said,

Imagine something called Justice Revivals in the powerful tradition of revivals past, but focusing on the great moral issues of our time. Imagine linking the tradition of Billy Graham with the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. Imagine a new generation of young people catching fire and offering their gifts, talents, and lives in a new spiritual movement for social justice. Imagine such revivals taking place in cities' great convention centers, but resulting in thousands of small groups for ongoing discipleship, training, and action in every neighborhood of those cities. Imagine disillusioned believers coming back to faith after many years of alienation, while other seekers discover the power of faith for the first time. Imagine social movements rising out of spiritual revival and actually changing the wind of both our culture and our politics. Imagine a fulfillment in our time of the words of the prophet Amos: 'Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.' Just imagine.

We plan on three nights of preaching and worship. Tonight, Wednesday, April 16, we will call people to make a commitment to Christ. Matt Redman, the writer of many of our worship songs, and his band will join us for worship. On Thursday night, we will call people to work for justice in the Central Ohio community and we will host the Raymond Wise Gospel Choir as our worship leaders. And on Friday night, we will focus on issues of global justice. Worship we will be led by Vineyard Columbus' new worship pastor, Clarence Church, together with some worship leaders from other churches in Central Ohio.

Then on Saturday, thousands of members of Central Ohio churches will fan out into our community and to dozens of servant evangelism projects such as fixing up local schools, visiting nursing homes, and working on homes for Habitat for Humanity.

We have several goals that we hope to accomplish through the Justice Revival. First of all, we want to transform the public face of Christianity here in Central Ohio. I want our city to know that we followers of Jesus are not at war with our city. I want Christians to be Jeremiah 29:7 people, who "seek the peace and prosperity of the city [where we live] and pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, [we] too will prosper."

I want hundreds of people to be saved through this Justice Revival and to come into fellowship with local churches throughout our community. I want to see churches across Central Ohio united in the practical service of our city and in reaching our city for Christ. Many of Columbus' largest churches are already involved in helping to host this Justice Revival including First Church of God, Grove City Nazarene, Faith Ministries, Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church, First Community Church, Rhema Christian Center, and New Salem Baptist. We also have several other Vineyards involved.

We particularly want to call attention to the condition of children in our city by having local churches adopt local public schools for the purpose of mentoring kids. And we want to call attention to global issues of justice especially the Darfur, the tragedy of global sex trafficking, the 30,000 children a day who die of malnutrition and preventable diseases, and the billion people on our planet who live on less than $1 a day.

Through the Justice Revival we want to help redefine what it means to be a Christian disciple so that thousands of Christians will understand that they can't be good followers of Jesus without also committing to Jesus' agenda, which includes feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, giving care to the sick, and visiting the prisoner (Matthew 25:35-36).

Rich Nathan is the pastor of the Vineyard Church in Columbus, Ohio, which is the co-sponsor with Sojourners of next week's Justice Revival. Click here for more details.

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