A review of 2021 and strategic plans for 2022

The Leader…

It is hard to underestimate the importance of a leader in any organisation but that leader, wherever they are, needs long-term development and investment to grow character and skill; this in turn takes time, and strong, trusted relationships.

This is the essence of Innovista.

Innovista’s approach works closely with leaders, following the example of Jesus, who prioritised investment in a relatively small group of people.

“In 2021, Innovista helped to grow 1,738 Christian leaders (993 men and 745 women) in 7 countries. This is an increase of 479 on 2020.”

The world’s eyes are currently on Ukraine and as we have worked there since 2003, our trusted relationships with church leaders across the country is bearing incredible fruit. Click here to read how the church leaders are responding to the huge needs and being the hands and feet of Jesus in their communities.

Yet leaders across other countries, who often experience persecution, are also serving God’s mission in many ways. Here are just a few examples of recent work:

  • In Central Asia, leaders are being trained to understand the needs of their local communities and starting projects to respond. A project began for disabled children focussing on the needs of the mothers who are often abandoned by their husbands and isolated.
  • A sports outreach that was pioneered in a tiny, remote region in Central Asia has spread to every region of the country. Young people are finding community, coming to faith and being discipled.
  • Through mentoring and friendship, leaders are helped to stand firm in their faith as they shepherd churches in countries facing persecution.
  • Leaders are finding creative ways to use the word of God to help young people to believe in themselves and find their true calling when their culture is less permissive
  • Youth ministry leaders in disadvantaged estates in the UK are equipped to reach young people

Investing inside in 2021 to grow on the outside in 2022

In order to work with more leaders in 2022, we invested strategically inside Innovista in 2021. Here are a few examples:

Madina* was appointed to the role of Regional Director in Central Asia and has recruited two new staff to train leaders there. This is enabling Madina to begin equipping leaders in two new Central Asian Republics.

A new partnership with the Horizon Education Network is creating a platform to deliver online training for leaders in remote locations. Innovista runs a leadership course called ‘Tempo’, which is being entirely redesigned for online delivery. This will give leaders, who can’t access in-person training, the opportunity to access an experienced trainer/mentor online. Testing has started, including with a cohort of leaders in Vladivostok, in the far east of Russia.

Maricela, Innovista’s National Director in Moldova, led a team to design a new training course called ‘Mindshift’. This programme helps leaders to think and act creatively – developing fresh initiatives in outreach and discipleship.

A large grant was secured to develop an app to measure the outcomes of Innovista’s training. The app, which is now in development, will help track the results of Innovista training with stories and data, and enable learning to be shared across the ministry and beyond.

Thrive Teams (our UK work on disadvantaged estates) has been brought under the umbrella of Innovista GB, capably led by Erica Payne. Innovista GB will focus on equipping leaders for mission in disadvantaged communities and is working in several hubs, including a new one in Cornwall.

How is this work funded?

Together with a Christmas Appeal in 2021 for war widows and their children in Ukraine (pre-Russian invasion in Feb ’22) and matched funding, total income for 2021 was £683,582.

Looking ahead

The need for leaders who serve with courage, integrity and skill is everywhere.

In 2022, we are working to increase our reach and impact so that more leaders are equipped to serve with distinction – so that people and communities flourish as they encounter Jesus.

We’ll continue to prioritise the tough places, where resources are few and where we can make the biggest difference;

  • Equip 1,800 – 2,000 leaders in at least 12 countries, helping them to reach their communities.
  • Double the size of the trainers network from 20 to 40, across 12 countries, equipping these equippers to grow good leaders
  • Expand our online learning, starting with the Tempo Leadership Course being delivered online in multiple languages.
  • Launch the ‘Learning and Impact’ app to track the outcomes and impact of our work and share the learning with others. We’re working with Eido Research to create a tool that will be used by the growing family of Innovista ministries.
  • We’re commissioning a Europe-wide search for an international Director of Operations to join the Senior Management team. This role will focus on leading the organisation inside so that the International Director can focus on developing the work outside.
  • And finally, we want to see renewed growth in our fundraising which in recent years has become overly reliant on a small pool of very generous donors. To do this, we want to reach into new audiences, pilot new approaches and invest in our digital communications.