The Spiral

The diagram below, called ‘The Spiral’, sets out our theory of change. The job of a Just Love group in any given city is to move as many students as possible as far down this spiral as possible. 

Not everyone will start in the same place on the spiral, but it represents the full journey that we want people to take. We will not go into full detail here about how to move someone through the spiral, but we can offer some headlines.

Many people arrive at university in a place where they are quite disengaged with justice. Our first job is to move people from disengagement to awakening, which is the point at which people’s priorities change, they get that justice matters and they begin to become passionate about it. We can do this through theological teaching, through sharing stories and facts about the nature of injustice, and by encouraging people to become proximate with those on the margins, engaging with injustice directly.

Then, we have to move from awakening to action. This is where they don’t just ‘have a passion’ for social justice but are doing something about it. They might be volunteering, fundraising, campaigning or praying into some of the issues they care about. We get people to this stage by providing opportunities, teaching people how to step into action, modelling what this looks like, and creating individualised pathways that suit the gifts and talents of each person.

From action, we want people to move to deepening, a place where they learn, critique and self-reflect around how to do justice really well. This might be driven by momentum at the positive that is already being taken, or frustration that initial action isn’t particularly effective. As with the earlier move to awakening, theology, stories and facts will play a role. 

From there we can move to impact – helping people to take action through their communities, giving, lifestyle and career in a way that makes the most difference.  This is an opportunity to bring in higher level teaching around effectiveness and good development, as well as modelling and individualised pathways around effective, high-impact justice. We will return to this section shortly.

Core Skills

We have a committee of student leaders in each city, whose job it is to move themselves and as many other students as possible as far down the spiral as possible. We have identified 11 ‘core skills’ that these leaders need in order to fulfil this vision effectively. Click below to read more about each of them.

The 11 Core Skills

Integrity – this is about matching up what we believe with how we act. This means giving our leaders deep teaching into what the Bible says around social justice, and helping them to line up their day to day lifestyle decisions with the things they believe.

Movement buy-in – this about knowing the Just Love vision and values really well, and engaging with the additional resources of the national movement and long-term vision of the alumni network. 

Communication –  shifting a culture requires great communication. We want our leaders to be able to articulate why they do what they do, and paint a picture of a future that people can’t help but want to be a part of, whether in person or over social media.

Community – if our leaders are going to grow their groups wide and deep, they need to be great at building community. We want Just Love groups to be a place where everyone is known and valued, where people can go deep but also have fun.

Developing Leaders – we are all about raising up a generation of leaders, and that starts with our student groups. We encourage our leadership teams to train and give responsibility to others in the community, as this increases their capacity, their reach and their legacy – ensuring that they will always be ready to hand on to a team who can take Just Love to new heights. 

Team Dynamics – working in a team can be hard. We want our leadership teams to build a culture of trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability, celebration and attention to results. Teams like this can be far greater than the sum of their parts.

Strategy & evaluation – we want our leaders to think carefully about what they’re trying to achieve, and consistently make decisions that move them towards their hoped-for future. We want them to be evaluating those decisions and finding ways to take their impact to new levels. 

Processes & execution – a high-functioning Just Love group needs to be organised. We want to teach our leaders to put in place good systems and processes to ensure that time is used well and things get done. 

Issue-based expertise – we want our Just Love groups to pursue justice well. This means that our leaders need to build up knowledge of good development principles – engaging with root causes, focusing on impact, and empowering local people. They need to use data and research to work out the best ways of tackling the issues they engage with. 

Relationships & influence – it is important that Just Love groups build good relationships with the other Christian and justice-focussed groups in their city. We want to support those groups where possible, and encourage people within them to step more fully into their calling to pursue justice.

Creativity – we won’t build up a generation-defining movement if we don’t find new ideas and solutions. We want to encourage our groups to be creative and innovative, and to dream big about the different ways they could bring the Just Love vision to fruition.