Category Archives: Young Leader Stories

Where are they now? – Andy

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Andy, a 2012 Tempo participant, now teaches in a primary school in Northern Ireland.

What are you doing and why are you doing it? 

Andy: I am currently teaching in a primary school as a key stage 2 learning support teacher for a class of eight children with moderate learning difficulties. I have always been passionate about working with children and young people on the fringes and this job gives me the opportunity to do that daily. It is incredibly challenging at times, but the rewards outweigh the struggle!

What impact has Tempo had on your work and/or life? What have you put into practice from the Tempo content? What has stuck with you since the training?

Andy: Tempo gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership abilities and organisation skills. As a teacher, I now am responsible for casting a vision in my planning and preparation for the year. I also need to delegate constantly, working with and managing additional classroom and learning support. These were all skills I learnt over the course of the Tempo programme.

How can we and others be praying for you?

Andy: Pray for me as I seek to continually learn from others on my journey as a teacher. There is so much still to learn and I make mistakes daily, yet, with reflection and planning I know I can stretch and challenge myself to be the best leader and role model for the children in my classroom.

Where Are They Now? – Emma

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Emma, a 2014 Tempo participant, now works as the School Chaplain to Wilson’s Hospital Boarding School and Diocesan Youth and Children’s Officer in the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Meath and Kildare.

What are you doing and why are you doing it? 

Emma: I’m currently working in dual roles as School Chaplain to Wilson’s Hospital Boarding School and Diocesan Youth and Children’s Officer in the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Meath and Kildare.  At the time of Tempo I was a secondary school teacher and I’ve moved into these roles for a couple of reasons.  I became more convinced that I wanted to be involved in youth and school’s work, but in a more unconventional role than teaching.  I felt very restricted by the Irish examination system and since I can’t single-handedly bring it down, my new role allows me to a bit more creative in how I come alongside pupils as they navigate these difficult years.  Another reason I went for this job was that I was curious to see how I would get on working in a more explicitly “Christian” job where I could be a bit more straightforward in conversations about faith and letting people know they are loved.  The main reason was that, in spite of myself, I knew I was being called into the roles as I came from a rural Church of Ireland and Boarding School background and I knew I would be able to “speak the language” and hopefully be of some use in building the Kingdom in that context.

What impact has Tempo had on your work and/or life? 

Emma: Tempo provided inspiration and direction at a time when I was really in doubt about what I was doing with my life professionally.  The single most important question I have ever been asked professionally was at the centre of the Tempo experience: how would your context look different if the Kingdom of God came?  That reflective question was the catalyst for so much of the activity I began in my last year as a teacher in a secondary school. At the time I was heartbroken when, during the Tempo course, it became clear my time at the school was coming to an end (career break cover that had always been uncertain).  Looking back now I see that a great future was around the corner and that in the meantime I lived so much more confidently, meaningfully and faithfully because of the dreams and plans that the Tempo course caused me to put into action in work.  Even though some of the projects never had a chance to develop into what I had dreamed, the experience I gained by starting them, and the relationships that I built because of those “start ups” were so invaluable – both personally and professionally in my new roles.  I know I would have stayed in the comfortable rut that year if I hadn’t had the input from the course and the encouragement and accountability of the other participants on Tempo.  Tempo also linked me in with the work of Innovista in general and I really benefitted from their Leading for Life event as a kind of top up of inspiration after Tempo had been done for a while.

What have you put into practice from the Tempo content? What has stuck with you since the training?

Emma: Listening to your context was an important principle that has been useful in the move to a new part of Ireland and a new job.  I’ve been navigating the difficult terrain of trying to pitch in to “the way we do things round here” and at the same time, injecting some energy and new perspectives, so the listening piece has been great to help me do that more sensitively.  I do struggle with throwing myself into different opportunities as they arise, but I constantly have the Tempo lessons about vision and strategy floating around the back of my mind.  That knowledge has been making me really determined to set aside some time to think about the bigger picture and think more long-term.

How can we and others be praying for you?

Emma: In terms of prayer my biggest problem is definitely that the jobs can be all-consuming, because they require so much creativity and energy.  This coupled with the fact that I can become a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to a project I care about, is a bit of a recipe for fatigue and losing your sense of purpose.  I am always happy to be prayed for about discipline, forming healthy routines, taking space to spend time with God and remember what it’s all about!

Tempo: Where Are They Now?

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Over the past 5 years more than 42 leaders have participated in Tempo in Ireland, with an impact that is truly global. From Cork to South Africa and the Caribbean they are leading in a wide variety of jobs, roles and ministries.

Over the next few months, we will highlight some of those who have completed Tempo (such as Joel, Laveda and Emma who are quoted below) and how they have taken what they have learnt and experienced to where they are now. So keep your eyes peeled.

“Tempo helped me answer some of the big questions. What is mission? How do we do it? What is my context?” Joel, Dublin

“I’m leading a team of nine people and if it wasn’t for the lessons I learned at Tempo I would be completely clueless. Tempo gave me practical tools to handle conflict, and to assess, challenge and encourage my team” Laveda, Cayman Islands

“The single most important question I have ever been asked professionally was at the centre of the Tempo experience: how would you context look different if the Kingdom of God was fully present” Emma, Mullingar

Tempo equips churches and leaders with the practical skills for effective local mission in their community. If you have a dream to see change happen in your community, a mission idea that you aren’t quite sure how to get going, then Tempo is for you. You will take part in Tempo alongside what you are doing, implementing your learning in between workshops, getting feedback, support and encouragement from Innovista trainers and your fellow Tempo participants.

To find out more – contact us.

The seven,  day-long workshops cover topics like teams on mission, what mission looks like in your context, getting clear on your purpose and vision, identifying and overcoming your biggest challenge, and more.

We currently have Tempo groups running in Dublin and Belfast.

Thank You and Farewell Innovista

See with meWhat happens when a dreamer can no longer see? When a world, once vibrant, fades into dull colours with no distinction? With no destination there can be no strategy. With no strategy there can be no intentional impact. With no impact we wander aimlessly hoping to magically see an undefinable change in the places that burn on our hearts with an unquenchable fire.

That was me when I joined the Innovista team in 2013 – a shadow of myself, waiting on God for the “what next” and “will I ever see again?”

So I jumped into helping facilitate Rise and putting together curriculum for it. The plan was for me to also eventually help lead Tempo groups too. In order to facilitate well, I wanted to become a participant first so that I could empathise with the position participants are in when I lead. Little did I know that God would use my experience in Tempo to unlock sight again. In fact, I am pretty sure the group thought I was an emotional basket case when it finally happened – messy, ugly tears and all. It was during the second module when we had to share about the contexts we were working in. Forced into describing in detail one context in Dublin, I turned to one I know best – the north west inner city. After all, I had lived and worked in it for eight years at that stage. I had been adopted into homes and families and watched as it transformed throughout the noughties and early 2010s. When forced to choose one area, it was all I could think about, as if permission was finally granted to dream for a part of the city I already loved. The dam was broken and dreams started to flood my life again.

Do you dream? Do you dream of how your streets would be different if heaven really touched earth? Does it light a fire of love in your soul for the people around you? It is distracting.

Dreaming is not enough though. Change takes action, strategic action. When working in partnership with God it takes more than well thought out plans, it takes inspired plans. It takes character development, boundaries, health, conflict resolution and the ability to propose and navigate change. So, over the last couple of years I was able to help Innovista develop several workshops in partnership with respected Christian leaders in Dublin. The aim was to help others like myself, who are trying to lead well by providing them with relevant learning experiences that set them up for stronger leadership.

sewing class 3.jpgMeanwhile, I was taking small steps in faith toward work in the Smithfield and Stoneybatter area. In one of the Tempo modules we talk about stewardship. I am a big believer in using what we have in our hands well. When thinking about what I had to contribute right here, right now to the community, I thought about sewing. It was a bit of a blind faith walk for me. I didn’t even know if anyone wanted to learn how to sew and, although I had been sewing since I was a kid, I had never taught it before. I gave a test run in my church, St. Catherine’s on Thomas Street, before starting with a group of parents in a school. Those went so well that people kept asking for more and more classes! I was able to purchase eight sewing machines to teach with. Tempo finished and my Smithfield creative partner in crime, Laura Pettit, and myself decided it was time to become a little bit more legitimate in the community with what we were hoping to do. That was the start of C Squared Centre, a place for community through creativity; creativity through community. Needless to say, I love it!

It is with thanks that I am moving into more full-time work in the community again with C Squared. Thanks to Innovista for taking me on board when I was a shadow of myself. Thanks for them for being a safe place for me to rehabilitate into who I am and releasing me to pursue the dreams God has given me for the city.

In this final week with Innovista I think about you, who also long to see, who want to use the best of who you are to inspire life, real life, full life, in your neighbourhood, your faith community and our world. What is it that you need? How will you get it? You don’t have to walk it alone…

Tempo, Tea, and Tots

One mum who comes is just a couple of years older than me and didn’t know many of the other mums. A highlight for me was when she described how she feels accepted, comfortable and not judged – the reason why she stopped attending another mums and tots programme.”

Joanne (left in picture below) is a youth and community worker in Ballysally (a large council estate with a close knit community of residents) who has just finished an Innovista Tempo group in Coleraine.  Tempo helps churches and young leaders reach their local community.

Joanne noticed that a lot of the mums with young children on the estate were a similar age to her, and a group the church was not engaging with. The mums spent most of their day at home looking after their children, with most of their interaction with other adults taking place on social media (apart from nights out at the weekends). Joanne wanted to create a space where children could make friends and be stimulated, and also where mums could come together, share experiences and build relationships with each other and with people from the church – creating a wider family.

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After some more research into what other provision there was for young mums, Joanne laid out her vision for serving not just young mums but also their families and helping change the culture in the estate. The  church leadership recognised the need and were quick to support her plans. Soon after, ‘Tots and Tea’ started on Wednesday mornings. She has enlisted a fantastic team of volunteers, mostly older women who love the opportunity to ‘mother’ and be grannies. Joanne is working hard at ensuring ‘Tots and Tea’ is organised sustainably.

“Through Tots & Tea we’ve to know lots of people from the estate we had no contact with before.
Over the next few years I’d like to see more families engaging and us providing more support, especially for first time mums – such as practical advice and sessions on post-natal depression and healthy eating (on a budget).
We need to continue to show the love of God in our relationships with the mothers and their children. We need continued prayer support for the volunteers that we might be an influence on this generation of mums and children for good and ultimately for God.”

From helping her identify a need in her community, Tempo equipped Joanne with the practical skills she needed and together we walked with her through the process of setting vision, goals, strategy and building team, giving feedback and providing encouragement.

Innovista runs Tempo groups in a number of locations and in partnership with local churches. to find out more click here.

We want to equip more young leaders like Joanne so that communities across Ireland experience hope and life. Giving regularly or a single gift can enable that to happen.

Make a difference where you are

We are passionate about equipping leaders with the skills and character for local mission.

Watch to find out more:

Tempo groups (like the one Dave was part of) will be starting again in the autumn – see our Tempo page for more information.

Other training opportunities with Innovista include workshops and Leading for Life – 3 days leadership and mission training this summer in Berlin.

On International Women’s Day – Investing in the Next Generation of Female leaders

International Women’s Day presents a perfect opportunity to showcase one of the the incredible teenagers we have the opportunity of working with.. Ashleigh writes: It has been an exciting journey walking along side Rebecca, an 18 year old from Ballyfermot (a challenging area of Dublin, where 29% adults haven’t completed any education past primary school). Rebecca is the first participant in our new RISE mentoring programme. “! really want to learn new skills and build my experiences with teenagers so I can become a youth worker” (Rebecca, 18) Rebecca is committed to influencing teenagers and passing on the experiences she’s had from years of being invested in by others. rebI first met Rebecca about eighteen months ago when she starting coming to church, and I got to know her better when she became a regular attendee at the youth group I lead. Her enthusiasm, maturity, and desire to grow was apparent, and as I got to know her it was clear that she had exciting dreams and plans for her future. Part of these plans are to become a youth worker. Having spent many years involved with various youth projects as a volunteer as well as a member, Rebecca is already well equipped to begin this journey. “It is widely accepted that youth, especially those perceived to be at risk, benefit significantly by having a mentor in their lives” (Mentoring: An investment in Positive Youth Outcomes) Doing life with people and having someone support and walk beside you is something I treasured as a teenager as I navigated my way through the maze of life. To be able to reverse the roles and support teenagers navigate this same path is a real privilege, especially when it comes to mentoring someone like Rebecca. We started our mentoring journey with the goal of Rebecca becoming a RISE volunteer and being part of our schools program. During this time we have also been able to chat through other aspects of what it is like to move through different phases of life, and also practically of getting Rebecca into courses as part of her steps towards youth work. Rebecca’s journey of faith has also been exciting to see. Just a couple of months ago at a youth event Rebecca made a step of faith in becoming a Christian – to be there to witness that was amazing for me. Mentoring can make a huge difference in the lives of teenagers regardless of where they are in their journey. We want to see more young people like Rebecca experience lasting hope and equipped to give back to their community. Over the next few months we’re excited to be partnering with Mount Carmel Secondary School to provide mentoring for some of their transition year girls, investing in even more talented young female leaders. Just 10 new people giving €45 a month would enable us to commit to mentoring more young people like Rebecca and enabling them to be sources of hope in their communities. To give click here.