Developing leaders, inspiring mission

By Sam Moore

Innovista Ireland identifies and equips young leaders to bring hope to their communities. Working across a wide range of churches in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Innovista runs a range of training and mentoring programmes for young leaders. Partnering with VOX magazine for the Young Adults’ Survey 2015, Innovista Ireland will use the findings to respond to the needs of young leaders across the island. Here Innovista Ireland National Director Sam Moore reflects on the research findings.

Reading through the responses from 18-35s on their dreams for the church, I was struck by the constant longing for a church that would be engaged in the local community, that serves that community and works for its transformation; a church whose focus is beyond the walls of the building. 

I was struck too by the encouragement to older leaders and the pleas for vulnerability, to be mentored, to be trained and to be given opportunities to lead and to experiment.

I am filled with hope and nervous excitement as I consider the present and the future. I’m excited by the desire to see lives transformed by Jesus and churches engaging with and serving local communities. I’m excited that 18-35s want to learn from and with the older generation, that they dream of a church that is honest, welcoming and cross-generational. I’m filled with hope by the desire to see local churches work together for the sake of mission and the kingdom.

I’m nervous, too, because passion and dreams need to be nurtured, people need to be equipped practically, they need to be given freedom and opportunity to lead and they need to be supported, encouraged and rebuked along the way.

We need to equip people to be leaders with the necessary character and skills to lead, not just train people to lead specific tasks.

Almost 60% of 18-35s surveyed have had no leadership training and of those who have received training, a significant proportion has been through work or at college. We need to develop the capacity of the church in Ireland not just to train people to lead specific tasks, like Sunday school or youth group, but to be leaders who have the skills and character to lead in the workplace and to lead local mission.

That’s why Innovista is here. We are passionate about equipping young leaders (mostly those in their 20s and 30s) with the practical skills and support to lead local mission that brings hope and transformation to their communities.

Tempo is Innovista’s practical leadership programme. Workshops spaced out over ten months give teams and young leaders (who are busy people) the space to put their learning into practice and learn from each other. Coaching, encouragement and support from experienced mentors, also makes a significant impact.

Joanne is a youth and community worker in Ballysally who is part of an Innovista Tempo group. As we dug down into understanding the places we work and serve, Joanne realised she kept seeing young mums everywhere she went and her church was not engaging with this group. 

After some more research into what other provision there was for young mums, during our “vision” workshop, Joanne laid out her vision for serving not just young mums but also their families and helping change the culture in the estate where she works. 

Joanne presented her plans to the church leadership and soon started ‘Tea and Tots’ on Wednesday mornings. She has also enlisted a fantastic team of volunteers, mostly older women who love the opportunity to ‘mother’ and be grannies. Joanne has worked hard at ensuring ‘Tea and Tots’ isn’t dependent on her but is sustainable. She is now handing over leadership to her team of volunteers.

From helping her identify a need in her community, Tempo equipped Joanne with the practical skills she needed and together we walked with her through the process of setting vision, goals, strategy and building team, giving feedback and providing encouragement.

New Tempo groups are starting in a number of locations this autumn and in the New Year. For more information see

Sam Moore is the National Director of Innovista Ireland.



Leadership and the Millennial Generation: Survey Findings

69% of the Young Adults surveyed said they were involved in leadership. 
20% In business or the workplace
17% In non-profit organisations
24% In the community (community, youth or sports organisations)
10% Worship leading
24% Sunday School or Youth Leader in church
6% Deacon or practical leadership in church
6% Other leadership including Christian Unions and political activism
4% Church leadership

Men and Women in Leadership

While the percentage of women involved in leadership in non-profit organisations was higher (18% women to 14% men), in the workplace and the community, the percentages were very similar.

Workplace (20% women and 19% men)
Community (26% men and 24% women)
In the church, however, the difference was more pronounced:
Church leadership: 9% men to 2% women
Worship leadership: 15% men to 8% women
Deacon or other practical leadership: 12% men to 4% women
Sunday School or youth leadership in church: 26% men to 23% women

Have you received any Leadership Training?

Yes 42%
No 58%

Photos: Agape Ireland / Krista Kirby