At the start of September, more than 60 students from 17 cities gathered in London for 3 days of Just Love Training, being inspired and equipped to better pursue the biblical call to social justice.
We run these trainings a few times a year and we’ve got big ambitions for them. We want them to be the best trainings our students ever go to and for people to leave different. We want these trainings to develop students as leaders, equip them to run more effective Just Love groups, and to impact their lives well after leaving uni.
At this round of training we learnt from too many individuals to mention. We wrestled with big theological questions with Vanessa Conant, Bajo Akinsanya and Jenny Sinclair. We heard from Alison Coulter on team dynamics, Ginny from Amplify on communication and Matt Bird on building relationships. We held practical skills seminars on politics, working with the homeless and campaigning. And of course, we worshipped, prayed, and ate delicious veggie food together.
I remember two years ago coming to the same training as a student, and feeling profoundly inspired by everyone around me, but also feeling totally welcome. It’s somewhat remarkable that Just Love trainings still feel like that now they’re 3 times the size. I love seeing groups like Oxford (who’ve been around for years) and groups like Southampton (who are launching this term) sharing experiences and supporting each other over the three days. The cross-pollination of ideas and building of friendships that happens when the Just Love movement comes together is just incredible.
September is always the start of the Just Love year, and after the summer this training kickstarts us again into action. It’s impossible to go away from this training without being inspired afresh by Just Love students. These are disciples of Jesus who are defying all the stereotypes about student culture. They love God and they’re living out his justice through prayer and action in cities across the country. They’re giving generously, campaigning tirelessly and loving ferociously. Day by day, week by week, they’re making up the culture shift we want to see. All of which makes me so excited to see what they get up to in the next year.
(We hold the next of these training events in London and Durham over Easter- if you’re a student thinking of setting up a Just Love group over the next year you’ll want to make sure you’re there.)