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Justice Walking

By Fraser Venter

I love jogging. I am not an Olympian, but I try to be consistent. I will honestly admit my body doesn’t always like it, and my ego is wounded when someone runs past me as if I am standing still. Nevertheless, jogging provides a sacred space where I hear God. If I could insert the theme of “Chariots of Fire,” I would quote Eric Liddell and say that I do feel the pleasure of God when I run.

Recently, I wasn’t too far from home when I began to reflect on what it meant to be a God-chaser. In my mind, I began to imagine God running ahead of me. I was attentive to be in pursuit of Him, and my pace quickened along with my heart rate. Suddenly, I was struck by the relationship between running and pursuing God. I was challenged that if all I did was pursue Him, when did I catch Him?

So now, please hear me; we all should be God-chasers. We should all be going after where God is, where He is working, and calling us to partner with Him. Yet, when I categorize my understanding of God as only someone I pursue, I may inadvertently be saying that where He is may be unattainable. In other words, will I ever catch Him or catch up?

As my pace slowed, I realized that God often desires to run beside me rather than ahead of me. To the non-joggers out there, God desires to just walk with me. It is much easier to be present in a conversation, receive directions and avoid a pothole when the pace is slower.


“As God self-reveals through self-identifying, He unveils the mystery of His character and nature.”


I would suggest that justice is not something we only pursue but a person we walk with, Jesus. Justice is what God desires/requires of us (Micah 6:8Luke 4:18-19) and who He is (Deuteronomy 32:4Psalm 89:14). As God self-reveals through self-identifying, He unveils the mystery of His character and nature. When I set my pace to Him, I am choosing to no longer see God as elusive or only immanent but as present and Emmanuel. I am choosing to understand who He is, including His identity as just. And in so doing, I am becoming nearer to His heart and what His heart would have me pursue on His behalf.

Presence and Pace

At the Justice Network Summit in Azusa, California, Dr. Soong-Chan Rah illustrated this powerfully as he described the speed of culture. He explained a time in his pastorate when he would walk from home to the church instead of driving the short distance. Walking through his neighborhood, he had time to be present in the longing and losses of those he was called to and entrusted to his care. When he drove, he sped right by and missed the opportunities where God might be working.

I was challenged by Dr. Rah’s illustration to be more present and to be more conscious of my pace. My work in justice, with justice, and with Him who is Justice must be determined by His pace.

As we walk out the expression of The Free Methodist Way’s Love-Driven Justice, I want to emphasize again that our pace matched with Jesus is crucial. For some, our pursuit of a return to biblical theological justice has been too slow. And for others, the pursuit of justice seems too fast, and they may fear the speed is leading us in the wrong direction. To both sentiments in our FM family, I want to say: Let’s pace ourselves with Jesus. According to the kingdom clock, if our return to justice has been slow, we must be assured it is never too late. And if it is too fast, let’s also recognize that as Free Methodists, we are a people anchored in His Word, led by His Spirit, and accountable to one another. The key is we must not leave Jesus behind.

Aims and Interests

When asked about some of the aims and interests of Love-Driven Justice, my response is always to ask what the aims and interests of Jesus’ ethic of justice toward people, communities, structures, and systems are.

What I would like to see our Free Methodist family walk out with Jesus are the following:

We must increase our love for Jesus and align our passion toward what He is zealous for.

Justice should be about the who, Jesus, before the what or how of justice. In other words, put Messiah before mission, presence before the protest, and pastoring before the practice. Justice for Christ’s followers is a formation and culture transformation issue. Prayer and presence will position you to steward His promises and breakthroughs (in and around you).

We must increase a biblical and theological understanding of our Free Methodist orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy. This understanding will remind us we are not revisionists but revivalists. Leaning into The FM Way as a whole brings necessary balance. This will require us to deepen the theological educational process and, at the same time, give room to advocate and activate justice initiatives.

We must encourage one another to recognize that evangelism/discipleship/multiplication is not the antithesis of God’s justice, mercy, or compassionOn the contrary, I would argue both are done best when done together as a more authentic picture of the gospel.


“We can’t do everything, but we can all at least do something.”


I would love to walk alongside individuals, pastors, and churches to listen, learn, and help find what I call their get in justice practice. The get is the one or two things God placed in your sphere of influence and advocacy, whether inside the church or in the public square. We can’t do everything, but we can all at least do something. We have many Free Methodists around the United States who have found their get, and we need to network more efficiently. 

Voice for the Voiceless

Walking out Love-Driven Justice means helping the voiceless have more voice. Justice does not seek to assimilate. It learns to accommodate the marginalized. Accommodation is being intentional that the voiceless are welcome at the table — not as guests until behavior is approved but as family graced in the journey.

Justice walked out in the Free Methodist Church must also seek those who have found themselves outside of specific leadership roles based on gender or ethnicity to find a space as we recreate holy matrices of power sharing.


“We are better together when we have more diversity and a fivefold voice.”


Pacing ourselves in Love-Driven Justice encourages that the prophetic is not a gift of irritation or agitation but a loving gift of remembrance of who we are and who we are becoming. Love-Driven Justice also reminds the prophetic to be gracious with the truth. We are better together when we have more diversity and a fivefold voice.

To walk and demonstrate justice in our culture will require being intentional in caring for justice workers in the church, hospitals, schools, marketplace, and military. We all know that compassion, mercy, and justice advocacy have enormous soul fatigue.

Finally, we must believe that adaptive leadership is needed in such a time as this to reframe our FM DNA into a present understanding to be culturally aware without compromising the mission or heart of God.

Walking Like Jesus

As I neared home, reflecting as I ran toward my finish line, I remembered one more thing: Jesus walked everywhere. Jesus walked into people’s lives. He walked through crowds who disagreed with Him. He invited others to walk with Him. He walked to His death, and He walked out of the tomb.

If Jesus walked, let us intentionally walk out justice in a love-driven, mission-centered, and culturally transforming way. Let’s keep walking until we feel His pleasure or, in other words, until justice just is. +

Fraser Venter

Fraser Venter, D.Min., is the strategic catalyst for love-driven justice on the Free Methodist Church USA Executive Leadership Team. He previously served as the lead pastor of Cucamonga Christian Fellowship in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and as a superintendent of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California. He earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Azusa Pacific University. And is currently enrolled in the Masters of Justice and Advocacy at Fuller Seminary.

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