The 2013 Justice Conference took place in Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Convention Center February 22-23. Several thousand justice-seekers from all around the country (and the world) gathered to sit at the feet of the likes of John M. Perkins, a Nicholas Wolterstorff, Ken Wytsma (the founder of the conference), Eugene Cho (One Day's Wages), Gary Haugen (International Justice Mission), and many others.

It was a great time for me to connect with friends old and new, and get a pulse on what was happening in the Church with regard to Justice. I was witnessing a movement. Most of the attendees were in their twenties. Nicholas Wolterstorff observed that there was a time when getting 25 people together to talk about justice would have been a success; now, he had a crowd of a few thousand before him.

The conference has stimulated me to write down takeaways and thoughts, and share them as tweets. Here they are, collected together:

  1. #justice2013 takeaway: Pastors, something is happening with young Xians re justice. Are you being equipped theologically to guide them?
  2. #justice2013 takeaway: Justice is an optional part of gospel ministry only if justice is an optional part of God's character.
  3. #justice2013 takeaway: Pastors, if your gospel lives only in the individual moral sphere, you will lose the new generation. And the world.
  4. #justice2013 takeaway: There is a profound & urgent need for theological education (specifically pastoral training) for shalom.
  5. #justice2013 thought: How will the Church keep "justice" from becoming merely a commodity the privileged can indulge in?
  6. #justice2013 thought: What transformations will theo ed institutions need to undergo so they can raise up leaders for communities of shalom? (This one got some interesting discussion over on Facebook take a look.)
  7. #justice2013 thought: If there is 2 b theo ed 4 shalom->churches of shalom, what must happen 2 overcome injustices in higher ed? Ordination?
  8. #justice2013 thought: Activists need pastors & churches who connect their work 2 gospel, else they r n danger of getting co-opted by world.
  9. #justice2013 thought: The Church must persistently draw the connection between justice and gospel, else we will be left w a secular justice.
  10. #justice2013 thought: The Church must persistently draw the connection between justice & gospel, else we will be left w sth less than gospel
  11. #justice2013 thought: If justice is to reign Xians must upend postcolonial relationships in institutions, churches & yes justice ministries.
  12. #justice2013 thought: To commit to justice means a lifelong journey of repentance from apathy, paternalism, privilege-seeking & triumphalism
  13. #justice2013 thought: 2 commit 2 justice = pursuing just partnerships across racial, cultural, socioec boundaries; 2 b more than urself.
  14. #justice2013 thought: 4 justice 2b true, main action has 2b @ the grassroots, not in the stratosphere of privilege; bottom-up, not top-down.
  15. #justice2013 thought: Justice must be firmly grounded in the gospel. It will save us from messiah complex, burnout, reliance on techniques.
  16. #justice2013 thought: Preaching w/o justice doing isn't good news; justice doing w/o gospel sharing isn't in the end loving.
  17. #justice2013 thought: Justice doers, beware of exploiting hurting 4 celebrity & feeding god complex. You too need 2 answer 2 a just King.
  18. #justice2013 thought: Don't be in love with the idea of yourself doing justice; be in love with the just King.
  19. More #justice2013 thought: Biblical theology of justice may keep word & deed, individual & social, godliness & justice together in Jesus.

More thoughts and discussions will come, surely -- I invite your conversation. But talking should also mean walking; here's to seeing more God-glorifying justice-doing in our world.

Dr. Kyuboem Lee serves as a lecturer of Urban Mission at Biblical Seminary. He is the founding pastor of Germantown Hope Community Church in Philadelphia, and the General Editor for the Journal of Urban Mission (


0 # Sungwoo Kim 2013-03-22 15:34
Thank you for your teaching, Cross-cultural ministry. The agenda you gave us in class opened my mind on Justice with gospel.
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0 # Kyuboem Lee 2013-03-27 07:29
Sungwoo, thank you! It was a true pleasure to serve as your teacher and to be a part of what the Lord is doing in your life. Many blessings to you as you seek the Lord and his kingdom.
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