We’re almost a month into lockdown. It’s a good moment to take a breath, reflect on all that’s happened over the past few weeks, clarify what we are about as Just Love right now, and lay out where we will be going in the coming weeks.

It’s been a busy month in Just Love. We’ve adapted and reprioritised our national strategy, we’ve reimagined our November Alumni Day to speak better into the current situation, and we have run our biggest ever Easter Training – with almost 150 of our student leaders from 25 groups (including our new groups in York and Warwick) joining us virtually.

Alongside the activity, we’ve also been trying to stop, pray and reflect. We’ve established our Lift Your Eyes devotional series on Instagram. We also released a six-part blog series reflecting on how we respond to the current moment. The first three parts of the series addressed the temptation to distract ourselves with frantic activity and to move too fast to a trite and brittle hope. Hope is vital right now, but in order to arrive at a robust hope, we, like the psalmists, have to show up to reality and we have to grieve the darkness of this pandemic and all the injustice that it is revealing. In the fourth part, we thought about what it means to flourish – to become more like Jesus – in the crucible of this crisis. The final two parts then reflected more practically on how you can respond, individually and in your Just Love groups.

The core of Just Love has not changed – our vision, values and theory of change remain the same. But what Just Love looks like on the ground inevitably has to change in the term ahead – we will have to be creative with how we seek justice.

The bottom line is this: Uni may be off right now, but Just Love is not.

Raising up a generation of Christlike leaders who will seek Jesus and justice for the rest of their lives has never been so important. This is not a time to withdraw and sit on the sidelines.

Our focus as we move forwards is going to be on roots, resilience and rebuilding.

We want to make the most of this time by deepening our roots – learning about theology, leadership and impact, and understanding the systemic problems we are facing in the world. We want to grow our resilience – developing the commitment, character and spiritual disciplines that will enable us to sustain a life-long pursuit of justice, even in the face of future crises. And we want to be ready to rebuild – ready to lead the way in fighting for justice in the aftermath of the pandemic. Our capacity to do so will be determined by the choices we make, the actions we take and the ideas we give space to in the coming months.

To help with that, we have a bunch of content lined up for the months ahead:

  1. Training Follow Up – we’ll be summarising a lot of the content from Easter training and helping you to put it into practice.
  2. Increased Group Support – we’ll be on hand to help you adapt and generate ideas of what you can do in your groups between now and September.
  3. Top 5s – to make the most of this opportunity for learning, we’ll be posting recommendations for reading across a variety of topics.
  4. Book Clubs – at the start of May we’ll be launching a first round of virtual book clubs, creating opportunities to learn together in community.
  5. £2,020 for 2020 – whether it’s being innovative and adapting to the lockdown context, or waiting for restrictions to be eased and doing an outdoor challenge, we’d love you gather a team to compete in this challenge and help raise the money that will mean Just Love can expand next year. See the website here.
  6. Good Development Training – later in the year we’ll begin to roll out a whole set of material focussed on good development and effectiveness in seeking justice.
  7. Alumni Sixes – we’ll create content that is designed to really stretch and develop small groups of our alumni to keep them connected and growing as disciples and leaders.

This is a unique moment. As Just Love we are all experiencing the same challenges up and down the country. From Exeter to Aberdeen, from the newest Just Love groups to the oldest; whether students or alumni, friends or supporters, we’re all living through the same moment, and we’re living through it in real time.

We sincerely believe that there are things God can teach us right now as Just Love that will form and shape us for the future. Now is the time to deepen the roots and grow the resilience that will help us play our part in rebuilding this world in the years that lie ahead.

We’re so glad you’re here on that journey with us.