Bringing hope where there is hostility

No matter how hard he tried, Pastor Gheorghe found it hard to connect with people in his community. Tempo leadership training gave him a wider vision for mission, and inspired him to take his ministry to a new level.

Hostile. That’s the attitude of many cultures towards religions they don’t understand. When a community is against you, it’s hard work trying to gain their trust. Breaking down barriers takes courage and perseverance, but a lack of progress can leave you burnt out and demoralised. That’s why the right leadership training is so vital. It can provide both the tools and encouragement to build the bridges you need to reach more people with the gospel.

Gheorghe, a Christian leader from Vasieni in Moldova, realised he needed help. He was stuck in a rut and didn’t know how to move forward. Being a Baptist pastor in an Eastern Orthodox country meant that many people were suspicious of him. Try as he might, he was unable to connect with his community in any meaningful way. He reached out to Innovista, and Tempo leadership training helped breathe new life into his ministry. He is now excited about what God is doing in the lives of the people around him. 

Misfiring mission

Gheorghe’s difficulties were not for want of trying. He was hugely passionate about bringing the good news to his village, so he poured himself into social action projects. Unfortunately, his hard work did not pay off and he still felt disconnected from those he was serving. His conversations about God were dry and earnest, and his efforts to persuade people to attend church fell on deaf ears. Worse still, some people even went out of their way to avoid him, so they didn’t get preached at. For someone with a lot of motivation, experience and knowledge, this was deeply upsetting.

Light bulb moments

Pastor Gheorghe was visibly different after he completed Tempo training. He understood, for the first time, that it was his attitude that needed to change. He’d been so focused on what he had to give others, that he hadn’t realised he was treating people like projects. If he was going to reach his community with the gospel, he first had to open up his own heart towards those around him. The training also helped him gain a wider vision for mission. Rather than just trying to get people into his church, he came to see his role as walking alongside people to help them come to know God. He was also pleased to get advice on how to have better conversations. Even small feedback like being encouraged to smile was important, as it helped him come across as a warmer person. The interactive learning with other Christian leaders also gave him the tools to analyse his context, discuss ministry ideas, and plan a new holistic approach to evangelism.

Community connections

Gheorghe put the training into action by focusing on building deeper relationships with people in his local community. When he showed an interest in them, he found that their reactions to him were much more positive. He’s now regularly invited into homes, and he recently started discipling a young couple. His reputation has grown so high that he was even voted onto the village council, which has opened more doors for serving his community. Gheorghe is hugely excited about how God is using these new opportunities, that Innovista’s training helped to unlock, to transform the people of Vasieni:

“Now everybody is smiling at me… Before they knew me as a Baptist pastor and they didn’t want to have anything to do with me, but now they know me as a kind person, and they are open to talking to me.” (Pastor Gheorghe)

About Innovista

Supporting leaders where they're needed most.

Innovista identifies, equips and develops Christian leaders working in challenging locations. Every year, we train and mentor around 1,500 leaders in Britain, Ireland, Moldova, Ukraine, Central Asia and beyond. We help leaders transform people and communities through churches, ministries and enterprises. Inspired by Jesus, we equip leaders to build a better world.