27 Feb 2013
"Christians have a unique role to play in this society where people have really lost hope in their leaders."
"When people in Central Asia think about a leader," continues Kanat, a young leader trained by Innovista, "they think of someone very distant and hard to get access to; someone who needs to be treated well so that they don't get angry. There's a feeling of discouragement and a widespread lack of trust in all leaders."
"But we can show a different kind of leadership based on Jesus' example. We can show a leadership that is driven by love and grace; that displays honesty, a servant heart, humility and respect for others."
And yet it seems that the church is not succeeding in producing these leaders.
"The culture has seeped into the church"
"Two youth leaders came and asked me for coaching." says Innovista's Dilya*. I asked them, 'Why didn't you go to your pastor?' They told me that they didn't trust him, and wanted someone who would help them grow and wasn't just out for their own gain."
"Many young Christians are trying to be better leaders," continues Kanat, who is based in one of the Central Asian Republics working for a mission agency. "But often they do not see very many real life examples to be strengthened by. We've seen some examples of leadership in the church - especially amongst the older generation - that is more influenced by our culture and recent Soviet history, rather than by Kingdom values."
Dilya agrees with Kanat's observations. "To be a leader here means being in power, not helping others. This culture has seeped into the church."
Hope through young leaders
But a new generation of leaders is emerging who are developing character and leadership style that is enabling them to gain the trust of young people, to lead teams in local mission.
And as a result, people are becoming Christians.
Salar* (pictured above) is 26 and lives in a Central Asian Republic. Because of our generous supporters, we've been able to give him one-on-one coaching as he leads evangelistic weekends for young people to encounter Jesus.
At one of these weekends, five students became Christians. Two of them are now actively serving in their local church on youth ministry and worship teams.
Not only that, but last year we helped Salar to develop a leadership style that would inspire others to use this model too - And he trained 25 young leaders to lead similar weekends.
Pray for one of these weekends that Salar has planned for the end of March. Pray that his team would be able to find the resources needed to host it, and that young people would discover Jesus for the first time.
*We can't tell you Salar's or Dilya's real name because it's too dangerous.