In a moment where more people in this country have been left vulnerable than isolated than ever before, it matters that the next generation of church are people who are going to mobilise, volunteer and make a difference.
In a moment where many have responded to crisis by stockpiling, ignoring advice, and putting themselves first, it matters that the next generation of the church are people of integrity, generosity and self-sacrifice.
We live in a world where injustice, and some level of crisis, will always be with us – it matters that the next generation of the church are ready to rise into leadership, ready to fight for a society that cares for those on the margins, ready to transform their industries and communities in the name of Jesus.
I want to talk a bit about what Just Love plans to offer you in this time. Later in the week we’ll release a post about how we want to equip you to get ready for a lifelong fight for justice. Today, we’re talking about how to respond to this moment itself.
First, we want to encourage you to think about your own spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
It will be harder for you to help others if you aren’t in a good place yourself. For many of us in a student/recent graduate demographic, coronavirus might be more of a risk to our mental health than our physical health. How can our faith and our passion for justice sustain and strengthen us during this time. How might we want to react on a spiritual and emotional level?
Second, we want you to think about how you can have an impact in terms of your local area and community.
What does it look like to volunteer in a meaningful way? What are some of the needs likely to be in your local area, and how can you engage with them in a way that is helpful? Many of us will want to respond to this with generosity – is it helpful to give financially towards coronavirus relief efforts, or is it helpful to focus your giving to other areas that are more likely to become neglected as a result of coronavirus? We don’t have the expertise to answer all of these questions – a lot of what we want to do is to provoke and encourage our student groups to start finding the answers themselves.
Thirdly, we want to encourage you to look beyond your immediate community.
What is the big picture of this crisis? What is the national and global strategy for resolving it? Who is likely to be worst hit by what happens? I’m sure some members of Just Love will be painfully and personally affected by coronavirus, but many of us will be shielded from the worst of it. What are the economic impacts likely to be for the poorest parts of the UK? How might the virus affect people in the poorest parts of the world? How does it interact with issues like the refugee crisis? We want to engage well with the political ramifications of what has gone on here – wealthy countries have spent a lot of money protecting their citizens, how will we protect the world’s most vulnerable?
Our hope is that Just Love student groups, as well as the alumni network, can be engaging well with some of these questions. We’ve just run some training sessions on this with some virtual training days with students, and there’s more to come this week. We want to see thousands of students and graduates step up, all around the country, in response to this crisis. In this moment, we want to be a generation who are pursuing the biblical call to justice.