I’ve often been asked for advice on resources to help congregations discuss issues of Justice, Advocacy and Solidarity. What follows is a brief list of resources including Bible Studies, Discussion Guides, Worship Ideas and Video resources that can be used as a starting point for people looking to introduce issues of justice and scripture to a community or to move more deeply into considering the implications of a Gospel that calls us to living out God’s Kingdom here on Earth.
Note that September 29, 2013 is National Social Justice Sunday, perhaps some of these resources will help you and your community engage with issues of justice, human rights, prayer, worship, action and poverty.
A beautiful, and growing collection of video resources that engage with the broader world and issues of justice, faith, action and prayer.
Link: Just Prayers
The Faith Effect is a five-part interactive bible study series tackling global poverty and injustice. A stunningly well produced resource with a variety of voices that engage issues of scripture and injustice in a well balanced and engaging way.
The Faith Effect includes a number of different voices from all over the world including Bishop NT Wright, Rev Dr John Dickson, Rev Dr Joel Edwards and Ruth Padilla DeBorst.
Created by World Vision The Faith Effect will take you around the world to meet a variety of people and hear a number of stories of people engaged in ministry and mission in areas of justice, peace keeping and poverty. Along with the dvd resource there’s a Leader’s study book as well as a participants study book to journal their way through the course. The Faith Effect’s website also has a number of extra resources for people wanting to dive deeper into some of the issues raised during the course of the study.
Each year the National Council of Churches in Australia produces a major resource to help congregations engage with social Justice Sunday (29 September 2013). The annual resource includes liturgical ideas for use in worship and prayer as well as resources to help people engage with the issues through bible study, discussion and further reading.
The annual resource also engages individuals and communities with stories of people and communities struggling with, engaging in and living in areas that regularly face issues of injustice and poverty.
You’ll find that the NCCA Site has the annual resources for a number of years available to download, each with their own book and worship resources.
If you’ve missed previous years, who not use them to engage with a month’s worth of services, or a series during Advent?
The crew behind Everything Must Change have released a number of other resources that can be used alongside the book in bible study, worship or group discussion.
In particular there’s a dvd resource that has been released to go alongside the book providing 8 weeks of material painting broad brushstrokes the material covered in the book. The dvd comes with a participant’s guide that provides group discussion questions and tips for people who are wanting to engage with the material in a group.
While many people will find that Brian doesn’t say anything new in this book what I experienced was that it was an incredibly good way to introduce people and communities who may usually fit in a more conservative theological viewpoint to issues of justice and scripture, the dvd makes this a much better resource than if you were to only be using the book.
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Link: Everything Must Change
Another book that also functions as a bible study (and much more)
In his book “Plan Be” Dave reminds us of a plan that was once shared with us by a carpenters son who preached on a mountain top about a simple way in which we can all focus on what really matters and remember what it really means to be fully human. As he delves into the beattitudes (the Be-Attitudes) we’re reminded that it wasn’t meant to be a list of things that it’d-be-nice-for-us-to-do-but-are-possibly-too-hard-for-the-average-person but instead were meant to be a liberating release to people enslaved by an ideal that was way too hard to live up to.
We’re reminded that the beatitudes are asking of us some simple questions and begging for some simple actions that, if adopted can change our community and perhaps our world.
Plan A, Dave reflects was to “treat others as they treat us,” Plan Be however directs us to a simple alternative, one that asks me to change myself to live and act along it’s be-attitudes.
Publisher: Authentic Media
Link: Book review by Darren Wright
Link: We Can Be Website
Link: Buy Plan Be
Link: Plan Be Bible Study Guide
Link: Daily Be – an 8-week action guide based on each beatitude (see on www.wecan.be order from www.tear.org.au)
Link: The Good Be Group Guide – a guide for studying Plan Be and for developing your own Be Group (see on www.wecan.be order fromwww.tear.org.au )
Think, Talk, Act on Global Property
One Just World is an Australia-wide series of free, Q & A style forums aimed at involving the community in conversation and debate on key international development and social justice issues.
A lot of these forums are available online via their website, select a theme whether it be Aid Effectiveness, Food Security or Human Rights and you’ll find some interesting conversation resources here.
Link: One Just World Website
Simply Sharing is an ecumenical initiative of several Christian aid and development organisations in Australia. Simply Sharing is moving from providing annual resources to a more as needed approach as our agencies continue to work together. Below are the resources we have produced over the previous years which we hope you might find helpful in learning and engaging others about issues of social justice.
On this website you’ll find a great collection of resources for people interested in exploring issues of justice, aid, prayer and social justice.
Conspire explores in a collaborative, creative, and corporate way some of the unique issues that arise from community life. At the same time, it engages the struggles of many who are not in such communities. Some of us are seeking community. Others of us are recovering from community. Some of us would be thrilled to find just one kindred spirit. Conspire exists for people in all those different places.
You’ll find grounded biblical reflection; painfully honest personal stories of failure, hope, discipleship and challenge; heart-stoking artwork; poetry and fiction that’s paying attention; probing social analysis; gentle and humorous confessions. It’s earthy, human, thoughtful, and sometimes ridiculous. We’re not holy or hip. We’re just people talking about this, that, and the other as we try to live authentically.
Link: Conspire Magazine
Tear Australia has produced resources for churches, individuals, small groups, youth ministries and communities to work through, discuss, research and act on issues of Justice, Social Action, Hope and Faith.
Head to the website to find a large collection of resources including resource kits, simulation games, bible studies and the Tear Target Magazine full of thoughtful and engaging topics.
Link: Tear Australia Resources
Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
Drawing on core Christian values and traditions, the Taskforce is committed to offering a strong Christian moral voice into what has become a heated and hostile public debate fuelled by divisive political rhetoric and constantly changing policies.
The Micah Challenge
Micah Challenge is a global movement of Christian agencies, churches, groups and individuals which aims to deepen people’s engagement with the poor and to help reduce poverty as an integral part of our Christian faith.
The Micah Challenge has a large collection of resources including video, bible studies, conversation starters, worship materials and more.
Sojourners – Faith in Action for Social Justice
Sojourners is a national Christian organization committed to faith in action for social justice. A great online and physical magazine with articles, resources, books and blogs of a variety of people from all over the world who work and engage in areas of social justice, human rights, famine and poverty.
Subscribe to the magazine and you’ll regularly receive what I believe is one of the most interesting and inspiring christian magazines that exists.
Subscribe to the sojo mail list and you’ll receive regular updates on issues of social justice, action and faith from across the world.
Link: Sojo Magazine
Link: Sojo discussion guides
The Baylor University’s Centre for Christian Ethics
The Centre for Christian Ethics aims to help church members to think with a Christian mind about ethical issues in society.
The centre publishes reflections, essays, resources, book reviews and more on a wide variety of themes, many of which have a link to issues of justice, many of which link with the home, and many that explore issues of wider society. Some of the specific themes include:
Link: Peace & War
Link: Global Wealth
Link: Food & Hunger
Link: Caring for Creation
Link: Entire list of topics in the Centre for Christian Ethics Library
Another Way to Love: Christian Social Reform and Global Poverty explores the role of Christian social reform and how we can act to stop not just the symptoms, but the causes of global poverty and injustice.
Over the course of 12 essays written by people from Micah Challenge, World Vision, Make Poverty History and beyond the book shares stories of social reform and teases out what the Bible says about issues f injustice and the Church’s place in advocacy and working towards the eradication of poverty and injustice.
This is a great collection of essays in one book, and as such is a great introductory resource for engaging individuals and communities with issues of faith and justice.
Engaging, inspiring and hopeful.
Another Way To Love: Christian Social Reform And Global Poverty
Edited by Tim Costello and Rod Yule
Acorn Press , Melbourne, 2009
This book was put together by 18 teens and 18 adults as they attempt to answer Martha’s question. Through sharing each other’s personal stories and their points of view on a variety of subjects the authors have come up with a phenomenal youth ministry book that offers young people and adults a different way to live.
The book is sectioned off into chapters that explore issues of life, our bodies, food, creation, work, play, time, choices, justice and much more. Energetic, honest, poetic and occasionally life-shaking this book opens up a number of areas of our own lives and asks about how our lives and how we practice our faith connect.
One of the issues engages with is Justice, the Leader’s Guide gives a number of different ideas to engage with the chapter in worship and study.
The authors have also put together a Leader’s Guide (459KB pdf document) that describes a number of spiritual practices that can be explored as you and your young people read through the book and experience the challenges that are raised during the journey.
This book is nothing short of brilliant and should be in every youth workers library, and if not the only real excuse is that you’ve loaned it out to a young person for a while…
Author: Dorothy C. Bass and Don C. Richter
Publisher: Upper Room Books
Published: July 10, 2002
Link : Practicing Our Faith
Link: Way To Live Website
Link: Way to Live Leader’s Guide (pdf)
This book is a great collection of essays and resources to help leadership teams and youth ministries delve into a number of issues around justice and the Kingdom of God. Exploring justice and the gospel, salvation and personal reform then moving onto issues of race, poverty, violence and who is my neighbour there’s a lot for not just youth leaders but for all leaders of the church to delve through.
For Australians you’ll find that sure, there will be some cultural adjustments that you’ll need to make as you read through the books, but that’s the case for any number of books written overseas, but don’t let that shy you away from it, instead let it inspire you to write your own resources that speak to the issues at hand.
A Part of the practicing our faith series (see the Way to Live above) this book is a beautiful text addressing prayer as a practice and how it is intertwined with justice and other faith practices.
Linking prayer with a number of people’s stories Wolfteich asks questions of what it means to pray with authenticity and adds describes a variety of different prayer practices including prophetic and contemplative to describe what she sees as different stances towards/of prayer.
Claire expresses the tension and links between prayer and experience but without any real form of bias, remaining open, almost as if the writing of her book was one of the practice of prayer that she speaks of.
Well worth the read.