As my year of serving as a Research Assistant with Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to point you towards some areas of EA’s work that I’ve loved connecting with this year.

Across the nations, the Evangelical Alliance is investing in young public leaders with the intention of equipping and empowering them to be able to go confidently into the public square and represent their faith, and more importantly Christ well.

For young adults, students, and recent graduates interested in finding out more about how their faith and work can and do interact, there’s the opportunity to intern as a research assistant with Evangelical Alliance. The internship is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in public leadership to get a first-hand experience of advocacy, policy and politics in NI. As a research assistant this year, it’s been great to be able to meet with politicians, the Department of Justice and church leaders to discuss some of the latest issues facing Northern Ireland.

I’ve loved the freedom that’s been given to me to explore topics that I’m passionate about, particularly focusing on the legislation surrounding human trafficking and modern slavery in Northern Ireland. While I’ve had the chance to learn more about issues I’m interested about, I’ve also been challenged to think about other topics, including thinking more about what ‘culture’ is. I’ve come to appreciate why for us as Christians, it is important for us to engage with culture, and in many ways change it, so that it is both open to, receptive and reflective of the gospel.

It’s also been great to be able to get involved with the work of Both Lives Matter, and to learn more about how BLM are adroitly ‘reframing’ the conversation around abortion. I’ve learnt a lot about how language is everything, and it can be a very helpful tool when trying to navigate controversial issues like abortion.

I’ve also enjoyed learning more about what Public Leadership looks like. We are ambassadors of Christ and so we have a responsibility to champion truth in every aspect of our lives- especially in the public square. The internship has been a great way for me to learn more about what that tangibly looks like in law, policy and in the media. I’m really looking forward to the launch of the Evangelical Alliance’s Public Leadership programme in Northern Ireland in September.

I’ve also found really helpful. It’s also been really interesting to listen to and read around some topics that I wouldn’t be just as familiar with.

The weekly learning part of the internship has been a great source of new podcasts, books and articles which have helped shape my thinking and broaden my understanding of the world that we are living in and interacting with.

When I went with the rest of the NI Team to the Evangelical Alliance’s staff conference I was really impressed by how young and diverse the Alliance is across the nations. Conference was a forum filled with wisdom and new insight, and it was encouraging to see that the Evangelical Alliance is, and continues to be, committed to developing young public leaders; providing opportunities for us to use our skills, backgrounds and passions in a way which best serves the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.

Written by Lauren Agnew //  Reimagining Faith\'s Website

Lauren is originally from a 'wee' town in Northern Ireland, but in recent years has lived in both Mississippi and Washington DC. She graduated with her Masters in Law from Queen’s University Belfast in 2016 before undertaking a legal internship with International Justice Mission in Washington D.C. Lauren is passionate about seeking justice and spends most of her free time trying to end slavery. She is also a big fan of burritos and Krispy Kremes!

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