How was it being part of a group of likeminded young adults, passionate about justice?
It was a game changer! Over time I’d become a little disheartened and had started to wonder if it was just me who so deeply believed that God cares about people who experience poverty and injustice. Spending time with like minded people restored my hope, my faith and I learnt so much from and was inspired by my peers, many of whom are still good friends.
I absolutely loved getting to know such a brilliant bunch of energetic and passionate young adults. I learnt so much from them as we shared our experiences and discussed the programme content together. We inspired and encouraged each other and kept in touch, especially as we took our projects forward.
This was the best bit. The friendships I made through Emerging Influencers have lasted, and it’s so encouraging to be part of a group of friends who are still pursuing justice with everything we’ve got. People have started businesses, moved all over the world, and some are in places of political influence – and we all share that common foundation of a love for Jesus and a vision of his kingdom and justice. They inspire me to keep going, too.
It was so life giving. I finally felt like I wasn’t the only one who cares about this stuff. I think we’d all said at one time or another it was like banging your head against a brick wall to try and get people to care, so feeling like you weren’t alone was so refreshing.
It helped me understand myself more, as well as God being a God of justice, and being able to bounce ideas off each other and learn from our peers was so encouraging.
It was great because for once, it felt like I wasn’t the only one in the room who cared about justice. That’s not to say people around me didn’t at all, but meeting the other Emerging Influencers was like finding a family where you could share your frustrations, learn about issues from each other, and geek out other possible solutions.
What did you learn through being an Emerging Influencer and how has it influenced what you do now?
I learnt a lot about advocacy, the theology of justice and the power of prayer, but ultimately I came to believe that I do have the power to bring about change. Since taking part in Emerging Influencers I have been bolder in speaking out against injustice and have taken steps that I’d have never had the courage to do before.
I learnt about the centrality of justice to my faith, and how to explain this to people in an engaging way using the Bible. I also learnt how to take action on issues I was passionate about, as well as being equipped with the tools and techniques to do this. I learnt so much through running my project as well as meeting new people and developing my skills, all of which helped me to take the first step in my career after university.
That we really can make a difference, and to be brave enough to believe in your own vision of what could be better in the world.
I learnt SO much. I learnt about the theology of justice, and how it is integral in the Bible, which helped me understand how I’m wired and how that reflects the heart of God. I also learnt project management, and that my dreams are not too big, but that I can achieve them. I learnt how to use my skills and passion to engage people in living justly, which is not how I thought God would use me!
I also am still friends with ex Emerging Influencers and am thankful for my cohort who continue to inspire and encourage me.
It’s hard to pin down just a couple things, but I remember being really challenged to see how I could use my personal sphere of influence to make a difference – whether that be friends, family, church, in music or otherwise. It had a huge impact on what I’m doing now, as I work at Tearfund! But seriously it really developed me all-round – in my knowledge the theology of justice, how to make a positive difference, project managing and so much more.