Meet the Speakers

Jason Hensley

Hi everyone! My name is Jason Hensley and I live in Los Angeles, California. I’ve lived in California my whole life, but I enjoy getting to travel other places and see the way that things are done there. It’s always good to broaden our thinking. My wife and I (as of January 2025) will have been married for 14 years, and we have four girls: Bethany (12), Sarah (10), Grace (8), and Moriah (6). 

As far as my work, I’m somewhat complicated. I absolutely love learning, and therefore, I try to learn as much as I can about any subject that comes my way. I thus work as the principal of the Heritage school in Los Angeles, but also teach Greek and Hebrew online through Heritage to Christadelphians all over. I’m also a professor of religion and history at Duke University. Overall, I’m inspired by learning. I think that understanding has the potential to cause huge shifts in the way that people think; because of that, I am constantly attempting to do public lectures at universities and senior centers. 

I was baptized in 2001 when I was 14 years old. Looking back, at that point, I knew very little about the Bible, but I knew the gospel and that I wanted to be part of God’s family. God had lit a fire in me. I say that because it’s connected to why I’m excited to speak at a youth conference. Youth conferences are exploding with potential. What will God do with you? How will you allow Him to work? God can do great things when we let Him light the fire.

Kingship is an intriguing topic to me because it is so foreign from what I experience here in the US. As a history professor, I often teach classes related to religion, democracy, and the emphasis on the individual in American society. Kingship, to me, means the complete opposite. Kingship is a time when the individual is given over to the king, and, together with the rest of the populace, the will of the king is carried out by the collective society. In that kind of society, it’s crucial to buy in to the king’s plan and to recognize his goodness; otherwise, why would one give over their individualism? For centuries, because kings are normal humans, kingship was seen as oppressive. But someday, it won’t be. Someday, all of us will rejoice because the king that we serve is perfection. We will joy in the fact that his plan and his will are exactly what is needed for everyone’s good. No government in history has been able to do that. But we’re part of one that will.

Richard Hillhouse

I live with my family on a small farm in the village of Currabubula in North-West NSW, about 5 hours from Sydney, near Tamworth – the Country Music Capital of Australia! My family includes my wife, Erin, and our three children, Sylvia, Reuben and Phoebe. We try to live a simple and peaceful life out here, but inevitably end up far busier than we’d like. But even so, we love being surrounded by open space, clear skies, bush, and wildlife. A bonus is that we can generally make us much noise as we like and not disturb the neighbours!

Along with a few other families that live in the area, we are part of the North-West NSW ecclesia. Sundays for us are usually a whole-day, informal gathering in each other’s homes including lunch together. Because of where we live, we make a big effort to get together regularly with other Christadelphians by travelling to Newcastle where we have extended family and friends; and further afield to camps and conferences.

I studied Environmental Science when I finished school, and for nearly 20 years have worked for WaterNSW, which is the organisation responsible for the management and monitoring of rivers and big dams in NSW. The part I’m involved with is the monitoring. We collect and provide information about the quantity and quality of water for things like town water supply, environmental flows, irrigation of crops, and flood warning.

On a spiritual level (and in life generally, to be honest), two of the things that I value the most are simplicity and logic. I like to try and break big, or complex, concepts down to simple ideas that make sense to me. Hopefully I can share some of that thinking with you as we consider the “Return of the King” at the Conference. Life is pretty complicated these days, so if I can help you navigate some of the complexities, then I’m happy to try. It’s worth keeping in mind though, that trying to make sense of things doesn’t mean I feel a need to have all the answers. One thing that is perfectly logical to me is the fact that God is much smarter than I am! I’m just the clay and He is the potter. I’m very comfortable with that.

I’m looking forward to the Conference because I’m still growing in my faith too and will benefit from spending the week with you. I was baptised when I was 16. I was at a camp discussing the Gospel with others, and contemplating how to live my life according to Gods will, but then realised I was doing those things without having made a commitment of my own. So, I got baptised the next day! Since then, my spiritual life has gone through many ‘seasons’. There have been periods of significant growth, when my relationship with Jesus and my Heavenly Father has become much more real and personal. There have been other times when it hasn’t felt so tangible. In those times I have had to lean on the commitment I made at baptism, realising that as a man of my word, I made a promise to God, and I will do my best to keep that promise even when it doesn’t come naturally.

I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of kingship in preparation for the Conference. It’s an interesting idea for most of us because we don’t have much of an appreciation of the significance of true royalty in Australia. We are certainly not accustomed to bowing down in reverence before someone in a position of authority. So far, I haven’t considered the nature of our king so much, but instead have been thinking about MY position as his servant; MY response to his call to obedience; and MY willingness to submit to his will. There is no doubt about the kingship of Jesus. But is he MY King? Is he YOUR King? Those are interesting questions!