October / November 2015 - Vol. 82
Training a New Generation of Student Volunteer Leaders in Europe
Kairos Student Volunteer Leaders
                            Training 2015The SVLT
                                            was co-financed by the
                                            European Union’s Erasmus+
                                            Programme, Kairos and
                                            individual outreaches..
A Report and Reflection
by Sarah Bick

This past August, around 60 student volunteers from across Europe arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the Kairos Student Volunteers Leadership Training (SVLT) conference, a week to be equipped for our mission in university outreach.

The week was all about vision and leadership, and arriving at the conference we heard about how one of the fundamental qualities of a leader was “teachability,” a willingness to be taught and changed. We kicked off the week with the desire to be exactly that – a teachable people, set on fire for service!

One of the first things that struck me was how international the group was: We came from Krakow, Bielsko-Biała, Leuven, London, Dublin, Belfast & Glasgow, creating a rich atmosphere of different languages and cultures. We got the chance to hear about each other’s home culture in presentations every day, and bonded both in our “networking” times over crisps and drinks in the evenings, and on the volleyball courts.

                                      outdoor scene of mountains

A valuable aspect for me was the chance to learn from each other. Conversations with fellow student leaders gave me so many useful ideas and approaches which I am excited to bring to my own outreach, Koinonia, in the coming year. And we got to do all this in the beautiful Northern Irish countryside, right between scenic hills and the seaside!

Another highlight for me was receiving daily reflections from Don Schwager in the mornings, which gave insights on different character traits and how they are modelled in biblical characters (and in scenes from Lord of the Rings!) I was inspired to have courage in leadership and in speaking the truth about Christ to my peers. We then received practical wisdom in building teams and being effective in talks later in the day, like handling conflict and planning events.

A teachable people, set on fire for service!

The main message was about our calling as student leaders. On entering the barn we used for prayer meetings, the walls were covered in posters with God’s call to the Sword of the Spirit and Kairos over generations, from the 70s to last summer. But these weren’t just nice reminders – this is our call also, as leaders in Kairos. It was incredible to see so many people take up that vision of what the Lord has called us to be in the past and also to hear his voice calling us as a people now.

The Holy Spirit was really present and many members got to exercise new spiritual gifts and prophesy over our outreaches, which was incredibly powerful.

Every time I’ve been to an outreach training week, it’s been with a different mix of people. This year, God called new student leaders who had just recently joined a local University Christian Outreach (UCO) as well as those who have been around for a while, and it was exciting to see people take up their place in leadership of our university outreaches and really engage with the vision and call that the Lord has for our generation. I’m eager to see how the Lord will use that in the coming year.

SVLT dinner

by Michael Potter
Koinonia Lonon

I had a very positive experience at the
Student Volunteer Leadership Training (SVLT) week this past August. It was held in the Mullartown House retreat center on the Northern Irish coast a short drive from Belfast, which was both peaceful and picturesque. God was very definitely present during this training week - a week I will well remember.

The social and networking opportunities were real positives for me. The sheer diversity of people and nationalities led to great conversations that could never have happened anywhere else. It was especially good to have a large Polish contingent with us who made a real effort to cross geographical and linguistic barriers to bring their own brand of joy and energy, as well as novel ideas on evangelism.

We also received some great teaching during the week from a number of speakers. Talks on Conflict Resolution and Structure & Team Building particularly stood out for me, as these gave good practical advice on how to work with people to build a strong outreach and to keep it going and expanding. Another great strength of this week was that it made plenty of time for prayer, with daily times for worship and meditation as well as larger prayer meetings where the Holy Spirit was working powerfully.

I very much feel equipped after this week, both personally and as part of an outreach. I am sure that we will benefit a lot from the wisdom we have received, and I myself will take away lots of the practical lessons on running events and planning as well as all the things we heard from the Lord about the coming year. I am convinced that this week will directly impact the work of Kairos outreaches across Europe.

                                      SVLT praise and worship session

Personal Reflection by Cathy Holmes
UCO Glasgow

This year I attended my first Student Volunteer Leadership Training week and I absolutely loved it! I have been a member of UCO Glasgow for a year now and was excited to find out new ways to improve our mission. Throughout the week we were given a lot of time to build relationships with other outreaches which really helped me to feel unified and part of one movement, God’s movement. It’s very easy to focus solely on your own local group so being given time to mix gave me a glimpse into how other outreaches work and allowed me to steal a few ideas as well! Fellowship was a really key aspect of the week with relay races, volleyball tournaments and card games being some of the (interesting) ways we got to know each other a bit better. These bonds were especially helpful for discussing our various outreaches during discussion times because we were able to be open and honest with each other when trying to find solutions to our different issues.

One thing I didn’t expect of the conference was a lot of prayer time. I have realised that in order to be a good missionary, prayer has to become a normal part of life. God is truly present in our lives and will reveal himself if we ask. I got to witness this first hand when our injured star volleyball player was healed by the side of the court after some brief prayer! It doesn’t matter how ready we feel to take on this mission because God equips, guides and leads us. That is the main thing I am taking forward from this training week – this is God’s mission, ask and receive.

                                      SVLT presentation by Dominic Perrm
                                      and Spock

Personal Reflection by Paul Fletcher
UCO Dublin

Taking part in SVLT this year was an amazing experience all together. From the range of speakers to the range of different personalities to the range of nationalities, it was a blast and very helpful for all involved. Even from the get go it was evident that we would actively train and improve the people there to better serve their University Christian Outreach (UCO) and God.

One of my favorite parts of the week was certainly the talk on practically organising an event and how to do it well, given by Dom Perrem. The practical information we received was excellent and useful and he had us all giggling in our seats entertaining the thought of having a UCO meeting in the wackiest location we could think of.

Naturally it wasn’t all work and no play and we had a whole host of activities each day from Frisbee to cards to a stroll on the beach and more. Playing soccer with guys from all over Europe in the beaming sun was definitely an amazing moment for me.

From the time I spent at SVLT I hope to better serve my UCO in the coming year and beyond and we certainly have the tools to have an excellent and successful year in our UCO in Dublin. 

Next > More Reflections by Kairos Student Volunteer Leaders in Europe

> See related articles and reflections on Kairos in this issue:

You can also get in touch with the Kairos regions:
 Living Bulwark (c) copyright 2015  The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com