The Current

Advocacy News + Updates

By Roger Bain, IJM Church Mobilization Program Manager

This past weekend, over 450+ churches nationwide stood with IJM to engage in the work of ending slavery in our world. They were from different denominations, large and small, all doing the same thing: speaking about the biblical mandate to care for the oppressed and urging congregants to act.

When I and my colleagues at IJM sought to ask churches to join us in the fight to end slavery, we were met with our own doubts. Will the church respond to this issue? Will churches care? Will we be able to communicate how urgent the need is? Most importantly, will we be able to bring churches together on one day in a unified action against brutal forms of slavery in our world?

It happened. Yet, it didn’t just happen. Freedom Sunday happened to us. As I’ve spoken with the many church leaders who have joined IJM in the work of ending slavery, their experience has revealed some powerful discoveries. Mostly, that when do this work together, a beautiful transformation can happen within us.

When we come together to speak on behalf of those who are oppressed, we often find our voice. One church that participated in Freedom Sunday shared that partnering with IJM in this way “gave them an arm in the world.” They now felt connected to the work of ending slavery in a tangible way. What’s more, members of their church now emerged from Freedom Sunday with the knowledge that slavery still exists and that the church can do something about it.

We discovered that by coming together on Freedom Sunday, we could have a larger impact and directly contribute to ending slavery in our world. To us, praying, advocating and giving aren’t mere symbolic acts of sympathy. When we pray, advocate and give we become like the Good Samaritan who chose to see the suffering of the oppressed and act decisively to alleviate it. In this, we answer the call of our Lord Jesus to be the light of the world.

Lastly, when we come together, we find our friends. Strong ties are formed when we find that that those around us share our passions. This is no less true on an institutional level, when churches find out that they and their neighboring church share the same cause of ending modern slavery. We have found that there is amazing fellowship in going into the world together to seek justice for the oppressed.

Freedom Sunday happened to us. We are so grateful to get to do this work in a community of like-minded friends. Together, we can make sure that someone shows up for the young girl in a brothel. We can make sure someone shows up for a young boy enslaved in a brick kiln. We can make sure we show up for those who are oppressed through prayer, giving and advocacy. In this, our own love for the world becomes larger. Together, acting on behalf of those enslaved, we experience our own transformation.