The Justice Conference Asia 2013: Some Reflections

JusticeConferenceAsiaI don’t take notes at church. I’m one of those guys that would rather “absorb” than “scribble.” If a speaker says a quote or something else that strikes me I may quickly grab my ipad and jot it down on my electronic “yellow”pad but for the most part…I don’t take notes.

The last 2 days I took a LOT of notes.

The inaugural Justice Conference Asia kicked off in Hong Kong with a desire to bring together men and women working in areas serving the the needy and oppressed, to inspire churches to how they can get involved, and to provide a theological underpinning for why justice should matter to God’s people.

We believe that justice matters. Our conviction is that it sits at the very heart of what God’s Kingdom on earth is all about. Together we desire to encourage a conversation and a movement that is already at work in Asia but is in many ways still in its infancy. We believe that this generation and the one emerging can have a major impact in all spheres of society, helping to bring freedom, dignity and restoration to all who need it most. (from the Justice Conference Asia 2013 website)

A lot of my aforementioned “notes” I’ll unpack in future blog posts so let me just give some of my personal highlights.


Gungor: The conference kicked off with a concert Thursday evening by Michael Gungor and his whole band. The creative talent alone was an inspiration. I mean how many “rock” bands can have a kickin’ cello solo that works? Tammy leaned over to me and whispered, “It has that Boulder Colorado feel.”… which is high praise from her indeed.

Ken Wytsma: Ken is the founder of the Justice Conference in the USA and his first day main session really set the tone for the weekend. His talk was on creating a “theology of justice”. Why should justice be important to God’s people and those wishing to see the Kingdom of Heaven established. (Favorite quote: “Justice is God’s intention for the relational side of his creation”)

Keith Wright: Keith’s talk focused on the need for churches, NGOs, and individuals to do justice together. It’s not enough to be doing “stuff” but are we working well together. He highlighted that sustained impact can only happen when we are joined with others. (Favorite quote: “Don’t be tempted to go alone just because you can go fast.”

Justice 2

Matt Friedman: Matt did a workshop breaking down the steps involved with both labor and sex trafficking as well as sobering statistics that had everyone a little dumbstruck and wondering what we can do to help. (Tragic quote: “One girl we worked with told me she had been raped 1242 times. When I asked her how she knew that she looked me in the eye and said, ‘Because I have been raped one thousand two hundred and forty two times”

Joann Flett: Joann did a workshop entitled: Business, Social Justice, and Restored Beauty and if I am honest, it was the talk that did the most for me personally. Her focus was how to redirect business ventures to serve the community and social good. In the same way pastors publicly pray for missionaries being sent out, she challenged that young business people be prayed over publicly in church by pastors and other business leaders before also being “sent out”. (Favorite quote: “I do not do secular work, I do work that builds the Kingdom of God when I go to work”


Twitter Tweets

Social media was alive and well at the Justice Conference Asia and an online conversation was ongoing throughout the two days. Here are some random tweets from the talks and workshops:

“Emotion should be the catalyst, not the entirety of our response to issues of social justice.” -Helen Sworn

Justice has to be our priority, not a hobby

“What quality sustains me? Love. Love them, like Jesus loved me.” — Margaret Kendall

“The goal of Christian ministry is to see God’s justice in every nook and cranny of this earth.” Dr. Viv Grigg

Daddy, when is the last time you actually sat down with a poor person & made a difference in their life?” –

Friendship is at the heart of the local church and the essence of Justice.

As a prophetic people, we must think critically to act compassionately. – Jarrod McKenna


I think a lot of us left the conference wondering, “Ok, what do we do now?” We’ve been educated, inspired, challenged, and entertained. Where do we go from here? Tammy and I have been talking about what we can do to partner with people already doing some incredible work. I know that at the Justice Conference Asia 2014 next year we will have taken a few steps forward in Asia to seeing it “being on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

I want to end by thanking The Vine Church for bringing the Justice Conference to Hong Kong. Tony Read, Tom Read, Andrew Gardner, John Snelgrove and an army of volunteers from the church that made the whole endevour a success. Thanks again for the ongoing blessing you are to this city and region.