Two years ago this May I traveled to Hong Kong for the first time in my life. It’s an amazing city with as much diversity as anywhere in the world (and more skyscrapers than anywhere in the world). I was being hosted by friends at The Vine Church in the Wanchai district of Hong Kong who founded and were hosting the first ever The Justice Conference Asia.
As I get ready to return to Hong Kong for the third time later this month, I can’t help but remembering the early vision. After the inaugural event in 2011, I sat down with my friend Erin Lytle to codify the thoughts and goals of The Justice Conference. I wrote that we wanted to reach and educate tens of thousands of men and women over the next decade with a balanced and theological message of justice. Our goal was simply to impact a generation for justice.
In a few weeks there will be an inaugural The Justice Conference Australia (check out this recent Melbourne radio interview with me and Eugene Cho discussing the conference) and later this month our friends at The Vine Church will be hosting the third conference in a row in Hong Kong.
The conference in Hong Kong, in many ways, has been one of my favorite events. There are men and women from over forty countries, many for whom their second language is English. The overall spirit in the air is one of the most intense atmospheres of unity that I’ve ever experienced. Unlike American events where many people often skip break out sessions or spend time with their friends over coffee long into the main sessions, the people that come to the conference in Hong Kong are intent on attending every single session and showing up on time. They are zealous about learning, zealous about participating, and ultimately, zealous about justice taking root in deeper ways in the countries they call home, and with the people that they love.
This June, The Justice Conference as a movement will have passed 20,000 attendees with nine overall conferences on three different continents.
Being associated with World Relief and The Justice Conference has been one of the most gratifying and exhilarating things in my life. It is incredibly humbling to be part of something that, in Nicholas Wolterstorff’s words, is “helping to change the moral vocabulary of the church.” And it will be great to impact a generation for justice.
If you can get to Melbourne or Hong Kong in the month of April, be sure to check out their info above. If not, make sure to go to the main conference website thejusticeconference.com and try to join us in Chicago, June 5-6.
Photo Credit: Matthew Chu, for The Justice Conference Asia 2014