Discipleship As A Means To Justice

By Alina Fa’aola | August 24, 2020

Immediately after the news of the brutal death of George Floyd, my mind went in so many directions about how to seek justice––including revenge and hatred. Seeing a grown man cry for his mother at the brink of death left me feeling hopeless and confused, but mostly furious.

When will oppressed people get a break? 
Why is it taking so long for breakthrough to happen in this area? 
Why do we, as people of color, but more specifically, black Americans always have to fight just to be heard? Why don’t they even get the benefit of the doubt? 
Why does racism even still exist? It’s 2020.
As a youth pastor, I asked how it could even be possible to minister to my black and brown youth in a time like this.

My heart broke for those youth that I do life with every single day.
It broke when I remembered how my own brown brother was dealt harshly by police officers at only 14 years old.
It broke when I remembered how I was pulled over and they only asked myself and my black youth for his identification even though there were four others with us.
I remembered Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Kendrick Johnson.
I remembered Sandra Bland, Michelle Cusseaux, Breonna Taylor.

I think I blamed God for letting injustice slide under His watch, but He quickly corrected me and led me to Scripture and since the beginning of what would be a 2020 civil rights movement, He began showing me the places where He heard the cries of people and brought justice to them.

He also showed me the places where the call to obedience for His people was not just for the sake of fulfilling a religious duty, but in response to areas where justice had not been served.

Thus, I truly believe that discipleship must be a means in which we seek long-term, godly justice. The type of justice that systems cannot create without the help of the Spirit of God or defined by Google, but true justice that is of and from God.

“If true justice is from God, then anyone unwilling to walk in the ways of God cannot fully know justice. Justice flows from the presence of God.”

And how can one even know how to walk in the ways of God? By being discipled––our great commission.

There are 93,449 youth and children that live in Oakland and only 2 full time youth pastors serving in church ministry. While that number may not represent the entirety of people actually discipling youth, it should at least show us the need for believers to say yes to God. Not just in Oakland, but throughout the world. It tells me that, truly, the harvest is plentiful…

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  – Matthew 9:37

“It is critical that the body of Christ is not just building self-help, babysitting programs for our youth, but that we are actually cultivating them and developing them to be men and women after the Father’s heart.”

It is critical that the body of Christ is not just building self-help, babysitting programs for our youth, but that we are actually cultivating them and developing them to be men and women after the Father’s heart. How beautiful would it be for a generation to be raised up in the ways of the Lord––including His ways of justice. How beautiful would it be for a generation of young people to be empowered to be in spaces where they would demand godly justice by implementing systems and policies. How beautiful would it be to see a generation upholding a righteous standard, even in a godless society.

Now, while our response to injustice has been to lament, pray, educate, learn, organize, and protest, I believe that our next critical step as the body of Christ is to continue to aggressively disciple our next generation of world changers. They are law-makers, medical professionals, teachers, mentors, coaches, counselors, etc.

Here are some practical ways to begin discipling our next generation:

  • Plant ourselves in a healthy home church with healthy spiritual leaders
  • Serve in your local church
  • Find and volunteer with your local community organizations
  • Build relationships, even if we are uncomfortable
  • View youth and children in your local churches as part of the body of the church

I’ve observed that much of the reason for the lack of discipleship is because there is a lack of obedience for folks to answer the call of God over their lives. As much as we loathe this pandemic, I have seen it is the kindness of God to expose and highlight the need for believers to be radically obedient and now is the time to give our full YES to God.

Obedience is uncomfortable and inconvenient, and might even cause you to change the course of your career or lose relationships, but it is worth justice being done here on Earth as it is in heaven.