Called to Leadership: Reflections on SVLT from Young People Around Europe
Sarah Bick [London, England]
This August, around 60 student volunteers from across Europe arrived in Belfast for the 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 and 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. 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 London, 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 on biblical characters (and on scenes from Lord of the Rings!). I was inspired to have courage in leadership. We then received practical wisdom in building teams and being effective in talks later in the day, like handling conflict and planning events.
Every time I’ve been to an outreach training week, it’s been with a different mix of people. This year, God called new leaders who had just recently joined a university student group 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 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.
Paul Fletcher [dublin, ireland]
Taking part in SVLT this year was an amazing experience altogether. From the range of speakers to personalities to nationalities, it was a blast and very helpful for all involved. From the start it was evident that we would walk away trained and able to better serve our student groups and God.
One of my favourite parts of the week was certainly the talk on practically organising an event and how to do it well, given by Dominic Perrem. The practical information we received was excellent and useful, and he had us all laughing in our seats entertaining the thought of having a student meeting in the wackiest location we could think of.
It wasn’t all work and no play: we had a whole host of activities each day, including Frisbee, cards, a walk on the beach, and more. Playing football with guys from all over Europe in the beaming sun was definitely an amazing experience for me.