Our Story

by Jack Jezreel, Founder of JustFaith Ministries

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Jack Jezreel, Founder of JustFaith Ministries

One of the most fundamental insights of the Gospel, reinforced by the experience of human beings all over the planet, is that the fully human, fully alive person is someone who loves wide. 

To be whole, says Jesus, is to care not only about the most immediate relationships—family and friends, for example—but to love beyond those with the same last name, same zip code, same flag, or same skin color. Wisdom and holiness, says our faith tradition, are discovered in an active love that embraces all, especially those who have been exploited, impoverished, and abandoned. God’s love and God’s world were meant to be shared by all!

In 1988, I was hired as the Social Justice Minister at a 1200-household church in Louisville, Kentucky. For the first year of my work there, it seemed we spent an inordinate amount of time just trying to recruit a minimum number of people to come to meetings or events. I found myself dissatisfied not only because our numbers were small (and the needs great!) but also because of what such a situation revealed about the education and spiritual formation of the community. It seemed to me that as a church, we had not been called, challenged, nurtured, or empowered to be a people who cared significantly about the world’s wounds. My experience over the years is that even the most socially active churches and parishes can claim–at best–no more than 10% participation among its members. 

It seemed to me then that the problem was simply a matter of invitation and preparation. At the core of gospel teaching is a beckon that opens people’s hearts to recognize their kinship and to respond to each other’s needs with heartfelt compassion and a commitment to justice. A fundamental part of Jesus’ ministry was devoted to appealing to the hearts of his listeners to take an active and committed interest in their marginalized, landless, exploited, and impoverished sisters and brothers. Love and justice are some of the names we give to such a commitment. 

JustFaith Ministries was birthed in the effort to invite and prepare people of faith for the life-changing and world-changing call of the Gospel to help heal the world and, in so doing, experience a deeper faith, a more fulfilling life, and a community of care and vitality.

The programs of JustFaith Ministries (JFM), which started with the original JustFaith process and now include an array of small group, educational offerings, were all crafted with the intent of providing people a substantial opportunity to explore the link between their faith in God and their love of their neighbor. In many ways, JFM is an invitation to wrestle with Matthew 25 (“Whatever you do in relationship to those who are vulnerable and abandoned, you do in relationship to me”), surrounded by fellow travelers, a commitment to prayer, compelling learning tools, and opportunities to encounter sisters and brothers whose lives have known struggle and suffering.

Happily, over the years, the testimony of those who have participated in JFM programs is that they have discovered new possibilities for their lives. They have discovered, with fresh eyes, a Gospel that is drawing them into new ministries committed to the good of those who have suffered neglect and deprivation. Program participants have not only found their way to new choices and commitments and relationships but, in so doing, have also experienced a deepening of faith and new purpose for their lives. Good News, to be sure.

And as more and more people are drawn into the work of healing and mercy and justice, not only are their lives changed, but the life of their church changes. The commitment to change the world, to stand in solidarity with those who are experiencing poverty and vulnerability, to work for justice can and does transform parishes, churches, and even communities. 

Finally, and most important, the work of love and justice changes the world. Those who need food are fed. Those who need community find friends. Those who have known injustice find hope and new life. Those who need inspiration are renewed. Those who have been self-preoccupied are freed. Those who have walked in darkness find light.

Welcome to JustFaith Ministries. I hope you find something here that will support you and your community.