Cornel (23) and his team of youth leaders from Nisporeni, Moldova, took Innovista’s Tempo Leadership Course in 2019.
Then Covid-19 hit. Thankfully, he had just learned about the importance of flexibility.
Cornel always believed that he had what it takes to be a leader. He is the youth and worship leader at his church, Bethany, in Nisporeni, a town just outside the capital Chisinau. He’s a self-motivated young man supporting himself by selling fruit, veg and innovative solid fuel. And then there’s his cleaning business…
However, he knew that he still had plenty to learn about effective Christian leadership: “Before doing Tempo, I would correct a young person by telling them ‘you are wrong’. Now I know not to make it personal.” It’s a small change of emphasis that’s really helped him as he builds an effective team around him.
Just as importantly, he learned about the importance of being flexible. “It’s easy to have a course of action, but sooner or later, you will come up against a big tree. You need to be ready to move around it.”
“Before doing Tempo, I would correct a young person by telling them ‘you are wrong’. Now I know not to make it personal.”
As Innovista’s Moldovan National Director Maricela explains, flexibility can sometimes be hard: “You can see a rigid way of thinking that they have inherited. It says ‘We’ve always been told what to do and how to do it, so we don’t need to plan for the future ourselves.’
There’s an incredible human resource in Moldova, all that’s needed is a shift in people’s thinking to truly unlock it.”
For Cornel’s youth group, called Be You, the first big challenge hit in 2020 with the Covid-19 lockdown.
‘We’ve always been told what to do and how to do it, so we don’t need to plan for the future ourselves.’
First, they called each member to find out their practical needs. Next, the team relaunched the youth club online and encouraged the young people with a video challenge “Five Things to do in Quarantine”. And the club grew from 50 to a remarkable 200 members.
Cornel is looking forward to the end of lockdown, but knows that online ministry will need to continue. “Young people want recognition,” he says. “And they were looking for it online, but not in a good way. Be You teaches them that they don’t have to do bad things to get recognised.”
After eight sessions of Tempo, Cornel and his team say they have a shared vision: “We want to be an example for all of Moldova.”
“We have a motto: strong people are flexible in any situation.” Whatever the ‘new normal’ brings, you can be sure Cornel and his team will be ready for it.
“We have a motto: strong people are flexible in any situation.”