Anatoliy Sapsay, Innovista’s National Director in Ukraine, comments that

“a big part of Soviet culture is that leaders never make mistakes. And if they do, they cover them up and never say sorry.”

The Soviet leadership model finds its roots in two places: a belief that good leadership is all about achievement, and a fear of punishment in the event of failure. In this context, leadership is about being strong. Leadership is about being right. It’s about ruling, not serving. It’s about taking every opportunity to bolster your own reputation, and hiding your failures. Amongst the younger secular generation, these values are dissipating. But in the church, where leaders are rarely below the age of 50, this model continues to be common.

This is why Innovista’s leadership training is a game-changer for the church in the post-Soviet context. By bringing kingdom values into our training, church leaders are able to see how their own cultural norms are challenged by Jesus’ servant-hearted leadership. They are able to see God’s purpose in giving gifts to all, so that every person can contribute. They come to recognise that in a healthy church, everything does not rest on one set of shoulders. Leaders can learn to be vulnerable. They can share the burden of leadership. They can know God’s grace, and seek his glory above their own.A young man called Dmytro (sixth from the left) is a shining example of this right now. He goes to the largest Baptist church in L’viv, which has just finished doing Tempo – Innovista’s flagship leadership course. The church wants to make lots of changes to reach the community more effectively – including its many teenagers.

For the past few years, Dmytro has led a successful ministry to 150 teenagers in the church. The work has flourished. Culturally, everyone would expect Dmytro to sit back, take the credit, and enjoy his reputation as a successful and high-achieving leader. Instead, Dmytro felt it was right to hand the ministry – and all the credit – over to someone else.

Dmytro wants to invest more in the church’s media programme to help them connect with young people in the community. And so, having identified a gifted younger leader called Vova (second from the right) who could take over the teenage ministry, he handed it over to him. This Sunday, the church will commission Vova in his new ministry.

Anatoliy coached both of these men during Tempo. He says,

“This is an excellent example of passing a successful and effective ministry from one leader to another in order for both to grow. Such examples are filling my heart with joy as we see a new generation of leaders living out the principle of 2 Timothy 2:2. Praise the Lord!”

Dmytro wants to seek God’s glory above his own, and to see the church flourish rather than his own reputation. Here is a leader whose values are being shaped more by God’s word than his own culture. Please pray for him, and for Vova, as they serve God in their new roles in L’viv.

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