1. Do not attempt to change the world, you can only change yourself
This may be the hardest lesson of all which makes it lesson #1.
2. Do not wait for permission (Sometimes, it is better to ask forgiveness)
Many people wait to be invited, to be asked, to be given permission to work for justice. If, after making a serious effort, you can’t get find a church or community group, start one. Help is available on line and through the Justice & Peace Resource Center.
3. You can get a great deal done if you don’t care who gets credit
When addressing issues of justice, it’s more important to get the job done than to focus on what individual, church, group or politician gets credit. This is hard for some people but you have to just tell yourself God knows what you’re doing.
4. Never underestimate the value of a “teachable moment”
When working for justice, it’s easiest to get people involved during a “teachable moment”. E.g.: War, Poverty, the economy, and health care. Use a current ‘hot’ topic to get people involved.
5. Education and information are key
Learn and educate. Never stop learning. Become an expert on a topic of concern. You can begin your efforts by simply inserting small pieces of information in your church’s bulletin and/or newsletter or write letters to the editors or guest viewpoints in your local newspaper.
6. Do not reinvent the wheel
Reaching out to local individuals, peace groups, resource centers or the internet to see who is also working on your issue to learn from and join them. They will be happy to welcome you into the fold.
Connect and meet on a regular basis with like-minded individuals and groups for support, affirmation and a sharing of information and resources.
8. Trust your questions
More times than not it’s more important to know the questions than the answers.
9. Identify the stumbling blocks vs. the building blocks of your group
Use assets based planning. No two congregations are alike. Work with your OWN issues and talents.
10. Avoid paralysis by analysis
Some groups never get out of the talking stages. While it is important to have information and training, you should also be “doing” while you are “talking”.
By Amy Fleming
For more information on how to implement Social Justice in your congregation, contact the Justice & Peace Resource Center at 607-729-9166 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org