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The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation Paperback – September 21, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (September 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414371284
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414371283
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The American church doesn’t primarily suffer from heresy or persecution but from inaction. Jim Martin’s book is more than a call for Christians to practice Christianity; it’s also a road map guiding us from apathy to action. (Richard Stearns, President of World Vision US and author of The Hole in Our Gospel)

From the Back Cover

What’s more important—justice or discipleship? The answer is both . . . and the time to engage is now.
In The Just Church, Jim Martin invites you to follow the God of justice into some of the most fertile ground for discipleship there is—and to revive your own soul through renewed faith and a deeper experience of God.

Martin and International Justice Mission are on the front lines of the battle for justice in the world’s darkest and most dangerous places. They’ve become experts not only at bringing rescue to victims of violence, sex trafficking, slavery, and oppression, but also at bringing churches into the fight through concrete actions that actually make a difference. Martin has seen firsthand the amazing things that happen—both in them and through them—when churches join the fight for justice.

The Just Church shares tangible, accessible strategies to help your church respond to God’s call to seek justice, defend the widow and orphan, and rescue the oppressed in far-off places and right in your own community. Whether you’re already committed to doing justice in God’s name and want to mobilize others around you or you’re newly awakening to God’s call, The Just Church is the key resource you need to see real change take place in the world, in your church . . . and in yourself.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

More About the Author

Jim Martin is vice president of church mobilization for International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that protects the poor from violence. In fifteen field offices throughout the world, IJM investigators, lawyers, and aftercare professionals work closely with local governments to bring rescue to victims of slavery, sex trafficking, police abuse, and other forms of violent oppression. IJM seeks to bring rescue and restoration to victims and accountability to perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems keep the poor safe from violence.

Jim is a pastor who began his career as a junior high math and science teacher in the inner city. He and his wife, Jenna, lived and ministered in the community where he taught, opening their home to neighborhood students on a weekly basis so they would have a safe place to do their homework. After four years of teaching, Jim and Jenna discerned the call of God to join the staff of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at their alma mater, the University of Massachusetts. For eight years they discipled students while living in community with them and again opening their home to students in need.

In 1999 friends from San Jose, California, recruited Jim to join the pastoral staff of a new church plant there. They asked him to coordinate "community service" for the young church, but Jim came back to them with a more expansive vision: he convinced the leadership of this new church of Silicon Valley professionals that "any incarnation of the church, if it is to be the true church, must identify itself with the poor."

Jim became the pastor of compassion ministries at The River Church and led the congregation down an innovative path of discipleship designed to bring them closer to the global poor. Jim began a robust global missions program, sending out upwards of 25 percent of the congregation every year with the goal of helping churchgoers in the United States to learn to identify with the poor so that they would better engage and serve the poor in their own communities. By the time Jim left The River in 2008, the church had relocated from the suburbs to downtown San Jose, where a core community lived and served in the inner city, and The River was giving 20 percent of its annual revenue to serve the poor.

Jim joined the staff of IJM in 2008 to continue in his life's work of leading Christians into lives of deeper trust that God is good, that he provides for those he loves, and that his children are meant to be exemplary in their openhandedness with those things that God has so freely given to them.

Jim is a man of varied interests. When he lived in Massachusetts, he built his own house by hand. When he was in San Jose, he commuted the two miles to work on a unicycle, stopping halfway for a to-go coffee every morning. Jim now lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Jenna, and their three children.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to change the world.
Chelsea Williams
The Just Church takes the movement to the next step and provides a practical tool to those churches looking into how they can join in the justice ministry sphere.
Jason Joyner
Each chapter in the book concludes with questions for reflection that I found very helpful in processing the material and teasing out its relevance for me.
Kevin Daum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alysa Bajenaru on October 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've read many books about biblical justice. Each one gets me fired up and stirs my soul to action, but leaves me asking "what now?" The Just Church is exactly what I've been looking for. Not only does this book dive into what justice means and why every Christian is called to DO justice, but it leaves us with a road map for getting there. The path is not quick or easy, but it is well thought out, deliberate, and meant to create an enduring justice ministry. This book is a must for anyone who has ever been fired up about injustice, but has felt powerless to act.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lori A Sevedge on October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Just Church is a very powerful, inspiring, and yet challenging book that will highly benefit the church today in it's efforts to confront injustice. The author Jim Martin was a pastor who now works for the International Justice Mission (IJM) as the VP of it's church mobilization unit. The IJM is renown for it's work in the fight against human trafficking and was highlighted recently by the president as a leader in the anti-trafficking movement.

Jim Martin wrote this book as a guide for church leaders and individuals who want to see their church engage in justice. His book is divided into two parts. Part 1 focuses on why we should be involved and reveals the interrelatedness of discipleship and justice. Part two provides a practical approach for churches to follow as they begin a justice ministry.

When we see injustice we often think of a place where evil is prevalent and God is silent and yet the author points out that it is actually there that God is at work and moving. Using the Scripture he makes the case that God cares about justice. The Scripture is replete with passages commanding us to watch out for the oppressed and yet somehow that message is missing from many of our churches today. He lovingly reminds us that God wants us "to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly" with Him (Micah 6:8).

Then he helps us face the challenge of how to literally put the call of justice ministry into action. The outrage we feel when introduced to the suffering caused by injustice often has us seeking an immediate solution. However the author points out that outrage and impatience are not enough to fuel the real battle we are facing. He says "what these victims really need is a church mobilized to engage for the long haul.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Trey Arbuckle on October 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Once a community or culture finds itself a affluent enough to insulate itself from the uncertainty of the world around it, it usually does." -Jim Martin, The Just Church

The Just Church is a much-needed call to commit to the humble (and humbling) work of justice. It is a call to see faith, not as a system of beliefs, but as rigorous trust in the living God that calls and empowers His Church to do the difficult work of embodying the gospel in all of the earth, even and especially, the dark corners of it.

This book is clearly birthed out of experience because it is not like many of the helpful books that have been written on trafficking and slavery over the past several years. It is not the gripping account of a journalist traveling around the world to see first-hand what trafficking and slavery looks like. Nor is it focused on providing a biblical exposition of God's heart for justice and a historical look at the courageous Christians who have fought the battles of their day against injustice.

This book is a mix of those things and something more.

Jim Martin wants to see the Church aroused to the injustices of today, but he's not interested in presenting a dramatic account of it in order to make readers feel guilted into `doing something.' He believes that the work of justice is part of what it means to be a mature disciple of Jesus and therefore wants to see the Church grow into a more living and robust faith--not only because the victims of injustice need our commitment, but because we risk atrophy and lethargy if we don't heed the call.

He has also worked with enough churches to know that getting people `fired up' to go save the world is counter-productive. And this is one of the main things that distinguish this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James K. Linton on October 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Three years ago, I was a leader of a home group through a college ministry in Dallas, Texas. We studied to book of Micah, felt very compelled that we were called to engage in the work of justice, found a cause we were passionate about (human trafficking), and tried to get started. What we quickly found is that outrage and indignation would not sustain a justice ministry. Eventually, our efforts fizzled out without any noticeable impact.

I know those members of the small group. They are dear friends of mine. I know their hearts. I know they really desired to engage human trafficking. The reason that project fizzled out had nothing to do with hardened, calloused hearts. It was because we lacked a plan to really engage in the work of justice.

This experience makes Jim Martin's book, The Just Church really exciting for me. In his book, he lays out a plan for the beginnings of a justice ministry in the local church. This plan, if followed, could help put teeth to the tiger of indignation that wells up in any compassionate heart that hears of the injustice people suffer all over the world.

In the first part of the book, Martin lays out the beginnings of what is necessary to engage justice. He lays out principles that would be useful to a believer dealing with any area of discipleship. Perhaps the greatest challenge he issues is to believers is to be willing to `get into trouble.' So much of our lives can be consumed by small, insignificant problems. In order to grow in our faith, Christians must intentionally seek out situations where they must cry out to God, knowing it is only Him that can save them. These situations bring about `failure points' in our faith.
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