The land of saints and scholars with its rich Christian heritage has played a significant role in the spread of Christianity through the centuries.
Ireland’s cultural landscape has changed significantly in the last 25 years. Abuse scandals in the Church have led to a collapse in confidence in organised religion. Immigration has seen Ireland quickly become multicultural; indeed an African church – the Redeemed Church of God, is now the largest denomination outside the Catholic Church. The economic boom of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ has imploded with Ireland now in the grip of recession.
Irish people have lost confidence in their leaders. The false god of materialism has been found wanting and a population with the largest percentage of young people in Europe is longing for hope.
But hope is present. There are young Christian leaders around Ireland, from diverse cultural backgrounds, eager to work together to take the gospel relevantly to their generation and see Christ-centred transformation emerge. Churches are being planted across the island and a variety of ministries are engaging in innovative mission projects as the church begins to respond to a very different mission context. These young leaders need training and support to make this happen.
Innovista’s history in Ireland grew from a number of training sessions, Glad You Asked groups and some young Irish leaders attending the Leading For Life event in Berlin in the mid 2000s.
In 2009, after a factfinding visit meeting with a number of those leading mission in Ireland, Innovista appointed Sam Moore to start a new Innovista centre based in Dublin.
In 2012 the team expanded as Ashleigh Harrison joined in an intern capacity to develop RISE – a leadership programme for inner city teenagers. Ashleigh came on board as a staff member a year later. 2013 was a significant year of growth as Liesel Reimer joined the team as a trainer (working on Tempo and RISE) quickly followed by Anne Baenziger as a part-time RISE intern for two years.
Innovista currently run Tempo groups in Belfast and Dublin, and one starting in the west (Galway/Sligo) in 2014. The team also facilitate a leadership collaborative in Dublin and provide workshops, coaching and church-based training across the island.
Innovista are committed to resourcing areas where leaders are least resourced, so in the furture they hope to expand the work into Munster and the Midlands.
Find out more about Innovista in Ireland here: www.innovista.ie