Alright, I’m finally ready to start some blogging of the book Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian, by Gary Haugen, founder, president, and CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM).
I picked up the book at this year’s Willow Creek Leadership Summit, a great event I blogged a little about here and here, after hearing Gary’s talk on leadership. His talk did have a leadership angle, for certain. But much of the message dovetailed clearly into the thrust of this book (many of the illustrations and points overlap). I didn’t mind a bit–it was nice to have them in written form.
A few words of introduction. Gary left the US Department of Justice in 1997 to found IJM as a response to his Christian conviction and sense of calling about God’s demand for justice for the least and for those who are victims of some of the worst evil in our world today: modern slaves, girls forced to work in brothels, and others who are victims of violence and abuse and need rescue.
I have found that his book, written with much insight yet remarkably accessible to any youth or adult reader, speaks to me as a “restless Christian,” the identifying term in the book’s subtitle. I truly want to live a life of significance for the kingdom of God and the gospel of Christ.
A couple of take-aways from the Summit talk and the book, taken together…
- From the talk, I was so inspired by the work of IJM, I almost forgot the most pointedly worded challenge to us: “Leaders lead people in what matters most to God.” This point may certainly be extrapolated out to all activities of the Church and of individual Christians as a criteria for deciding what to put our energy and resources into: those things that matter most to God. Seeking justice for persons in the most desperate need must be at the top of that list. Also, forming people in the robust biblical understanding of the gospel and the kingdom, such that seeking justice in radical ways, like IJM does, isn’t perceived as rare or radical–this is just the sort of stuff Christians do!
- We need to embrace the work of Christ to make us brave rather than the false security of supposing that Jesus came to make us safe. How this simple shift would revolutionize the way we follow Jesus.