Over the weekend, I had the privilege to attend a simulcast of The Justice Conference. It was an incredible conference. One question that God’s really been challenging me with is: “Can you know the world and still love it and serve it anyway?”
When you attend conference like this, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the injustice in the world. When faced with all the injustice, we all have a choice to make. Either we can choose to run from injustice or we can choose to run toward it and take responsibility for doing something about it. “Knowing” the world has never been easier. Choosing to love and serve it anyway has never been more difficult.
The Justice Conference challenged me to love the world and serve it anyway. I’ll be blogging more about the lessons I learned from this conference, but I would encourage you to find out what your part is in what God is doing in this area. As Lynne Hybels said in her session, “Ask God, What is mine to do?” Expose yourself to different issues, see where you can get involved, and do something! Knowledge makes us responsible!
Below I’ve typed up my key takeaways from each session. I hope they inspire and challenge you!
Session 1: Ken Wytsma
- Truth is what it, Justice is what ought to be
- Primary Justice – What ought to be
- Restorative Justice – Restoring what ought to be
Session 2: Lynne Hybels
- We must go to what we read about and hear about, experience, and do something about it.
- Everyone is our brothers and sisters
- If there is a tragedy in the world, then our family is impacted
- It matters to God that others suffer, it needs to matter to us
- Pray, “God, what is mine to do?”
- Seek the silence
- Is there a suffering part of God’s family that is trying to grab us?
Session 3: N.T. Wright
- God’s Royal Agenda: to care for those who no one else cares for
- Reconciliation is costly
- National debt is a new form of slavery
- Human Rights – caring for every individual because they are made in the image of God
- As pastors, you can’t solve people’s problems, but God can
Session 4: Nicole Baker Fulgham
- Students in low-income communities are 3 grade levels behind those in wealthy homes
- Education is the pathway out of poverty
- 66% of the public believe that Christians and the church should be involved in local schools – the door is open
- We need to engage with humility, civility, and compassion if we’re going to make a difference
Session 5: Donald Miller
- Counselor: If we’re going to meet for a year, you’re going to have to stop trying to impress me
- Have a project your working on that is meaningful for others
- Have a redemptive perspective on suffering
- Have rich, deep, and safe relationships
- God is in the business of redeeming hard things
Session 6: Bryan Stevenson
- There are 2.3 million people in jail in the US today, the highest in the world. In 1972 there were only 300,000 in jail.
- We have to commit ourselves to proximity – we can’t be agents of change from far away
- We need to change the narrative – there is a narrative in every injustice
- We have to be hopeful to create justice
- Our system treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent
- Choose to be uncomfortable – you will have to be intentional
- You’ll never get to a place where you don’t have to stop choosing to be uncomfortable
- Do what you do because you’re broken to
- People are more than the worst thing they’ve ever done
- Rosa Parks is always talking about what she is going to do… not what she had done.
- There is no justice without courage – Be brave!
Session 7: John Perkins
- Our sins are just as bad as their sins
- We need to plant congregations in tough areas – prisons, etc.
- Internships change lives because you get to do life with people
- God’s question: Who will go for me? – He is looking for a response
- All humans are created equal
Session 8: Eugene Cho
- If we’re not careful, we’ll reduce people into projects
- Do you have the courage to enter into people’s stories?
Session 9: Bryan McCabe
- Transformation is a process, God will transform your heart before the hearts of those you minister to
- Compassion – doesn’t cost use anything
- Justice – empowering people to become independent
- Advocacy – brutal!
- Too many people want quick fixes to issues. They throw money at them and expect them to be fixed, then they move on.
- If we’re not reflective leaders, we will repeat the mistakes of our past and never fix the real issues.
- As leaders, we must give a a voice to those without a voice
Session 10: Rick McKinley
- Do you believe that God loves you?
- What will sustain you when you have more losses than wins?
- What will sustain you when the need outweighs your capacity?
- Jesus didn’t say to fix your neighbor, He said to love them.
Session 11: Justin Dillon
- Embrace your vulnerability
- It’s about US – Together
- The world doesn’t need more information, they need more invitation, we need to create opportunities to get people involved
- Organizations don’t change the world, people do!
- Build the world you want to live in
- Don’t be an activist, be a solutionist
Session 12: Richard Stearns
- Injustice is objectifying people
- Injustice is not our fault, but it is our responsibility
Session 13: Bernice King
- Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
- Too many people are leaving God out of the entire equation, plan, and strategy of justice
- God was involved in everything MLK did
- God’s less concerned w/us gathering together, He is more concerned about BEING the Church
- All the problems in the world can be changed if we’d just be the head and not the tail
- Churches are too much like thermometers and not thermostats
- Non-violence takes and extreme amount of courage
- Moses was a murderer and God transformed him, who is to say He can’t transform others who have done similar acts…
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