150 students. 10 staff members. 8 sessions. 2 days.

Since 2015, Just Love has been running training events for new committee members as they begin their time on committee in April. Each year, new committees have gathered together to be inspired and equipped for a year of leading their Just Love groups. However, this year, Just Love Easter Training looked very different.

Under the coronavirus lockdown, JLET went virtual!

Students came from as far afield as Singapore and New Zealand to learn, dream and meet other Just Love groups. All told, 150 students engaged with Easter training across the 2 training events. We were thrilled to see so many students excited about getting started with leading their Just Love groups. This is the best turnout we have seen at any Just Love training event and we cannot wait to see the campaigns, volunteering and events that were sparked at JLET come to fruition.

These 150 students were taught on everything from the theology of justice to how to run a good meeting. It was amazing to see the comments flow in as students realised, some for the first time, just how much the bible talks about justice! We were able to facilitate conversations around team dynamics, leadership development and for the first time this year, we ran live role-based sessions to talk through the different roles on committee. We also introduced a new session focussing on setting goals for the year. Esther, our Southern Coordinator, led the groups through reflecting on the numerical outputs of the previous committee and setting SMART goals for the year ahead. As a staff worker, it was amazing to see the ambition of our committees rise as they saw what was possible!

It’s been a month since our virtual JLET and our groups have responded to their current challenges with conviction, passion and determination. Just Love London have raised £1500 for Save The Children through a fundraising challenge based around ‘joy’. Just Love Glasgow hosted a quiz for 100 people to raise money for Women’s Aid. Just Love Southampton and Just Love Liverpool are doing weekly videos where they explore a new aspect of the theology of justice. Just Love Bristol have continued running their just lunches over Zoom – last week our South West Coordinator, Anna, spoke to 23 students about the theology of justice! These are just a few of the many campaigns and projects Just Love groups are running through the coronavirus pandemic.

Just Love Easter Training is always a highlight of the Just Love year. Every Spring I look forward to seeing a new cohort of Just Love leaders capture the vision and have time to invest in their own leadership. I love the fun, the food, the community, and the content. Virtual JLET was a different experience in many ways but it gives me hope that so many new leaders have been inspired and equipped to lead in their Just Love communities and beyond. To finish, here are a few of our favourite feedback quotes:

“JLET has been so so good! I have really appreciated the input from all of the staff members and feel incredibly privileged to be taught and championed by such a great bunch of people. All of the sessions have been really useful. The balance between the theology and the reasons behind why we do all this, and all the practical nitty-gritty stuff of running meetings & events has been great! THANK YOU.”

“It has been super informative and despite it having to be online this has not hindered the quality of the training and I feel I have gained much more clarity on my role! It has also been great to connect with people in the same specific role as me and also meet other people even if it is over a screen!”

“…Jesus is so passionate about justice and the bible has a lot to say about it. I have been struck by the ways in which we can live this out as a team who can connect a community of Jesus loving people together. It was amazing to hear how this can be done lovingly and passionately.”