The Filipino Methodist is Back as a Magazine

Long time ago, The United Methodist Church in the Philippines had a monthly publication called The Filipino Methodist. It was a newsletter printed on newsprint and sent to subscribers by mail. It folded in 2010 after being in existence since 1969.

In the age before the Internet, the Filipino Methodist newsletter was the main way for Filipino Methodists to read about ministry news and features from all over the Philippines. Because of the increasing costs of printing and sustainability issues, it had to shut down.

But now, 7 years after it folded, the Filipino Methodist is back as a magazine. Kudos to Tita Phebe G. Crismo, publisher, Kuya Fort Nicolas, editor, and their team for working hard to bring this publication back.

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Youth, the City, Rapid Urbanization, and the Church

People are moving to the cities. It’s not just to the big cities, but also to the small cities in every province or region. Most of the time, it’s the young people–students, professionals, and workers–who are greatly affected by rapid urbanization.

This process of urbanization provides an opportunity for the church to reach out to more people who are moving to the cities. As such, the Church, particularly the United Methodist Church in the Philippines, needs to review its ministries to address the rising number of people in the cities and help young people find their place in the city.

Here are some thoughts on youth, urbanization, and church ministry. Since, I’m a United Methodist, that identity shapes the following insights.

Urbanization is increasingly becoming the way that we, humans, organize and live our lives. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) “54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050.” The percentage of urban population in 1960 was only 34%! Continue reading

Reflections from the YPM Asian Young Leaders Summit 2015

Discipleship is really about following Jesus. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of books about leadership. As Christians, however, leadership is not just being in front of people, it is about being a servant, and most of all, being a follower.

Encountering young leaders who want to make a difference in the world is probably one of the greatest joys of my work. I’ve seen this in Ndola, Zambia last April, and this November, I saw it again in the Philippines.

While on the bus to the venue, we already experienced the warmth of Christian fellowship. Such fun!

bus

About 28 young leaders from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia came together for five days of learning, fellowship, and dreaming.

Yes, dreaming!

Bishop Rudy Juan opened with his keynote about the connection of discipleship and leadership. Particularly, he said that as Christian young leaders, we needed to be mindful of three things:

  1. The VISION of the United Methodist Church: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  2. Giving VOICE to young people in the church: Speak up in a loving manner.
  3. Listen & Learn from the experiences of elders in the church, then add our own experiences to that.

Speaking of giving voice to young people, we also had a session on Young People’s Voices in the United Methodist Church, led by my good friend, Earlie Pasion-Bautista. It wasn’t a simple session by any means. It was done remotely via Skype! This is really my first time in a church event with a remote presenter. It worked out well, too!

earlie

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Young Leaders Summit 2014: Days 3, 4, & 5

Issue in Focus: Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture with Rev. Pepz Cunanan

On Day 3 of the Young Leaders Summit 2014, the delegates went through another workshop on an important Issue in Focus: Climate Change and Agriculture. Rev. Jose Pepz Cunanan led the session and showed the delegates many different ways to organize a garden. He used a popular Filipino folk song, “Bahay Kubo” as a backdrop for the possibility of planting and harvesting many different vegetables in a small piece of land.

Our delegates from Laos found the workshop very, very useful because they are farmers. Rev. Cunanan also distributed some seeds that the delegates could use when they go back to their own places.

Rev. Pepz Cunanan, Workshop leader for "Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture" with the YLS 2014 delegates

Rev. Pepz Cunanan, Workshop leader for “Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture” with the YLS 2014 delegates

Visioning Session with Rev. Mike Ratliff

The Visioning session is probably my favorite part of the Young Leaders Summit since the first one last year. It’s just awesome to listen to the visions of young people for the church and for the Philippine society. Mike asked them to look at the History of the United Methodist Church in the Philippines, then the Present, and lastly, he asked the delegates to open their spiritual eyes and present what their visions are for the church in the future.

Rev. Mike Ratliff asking the YLS 2014 delegates about "What has shaped your church?"

Rev. Mike Ratliff asking the YLS 2014 delegates about “What has shaped your church?”

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Young Leaders Summit 2014: Day 1 and 2

What do you get when Methodist young leaders from the Philippines, Cambodia, and Laos come together? Lots of fun and awesome learning experiences at Pranjetto Hills Resort and Conference Center, Brgy. Sampalok, Tanay, Rizal. It was in the mountains, so we really a mountain-top experience, literally and figuratively.

What’s more, Rev. Mike Ratliff, Discipleship Ministries’ Associate General Secretary for Young People’s Ministries was also there, together with my colleague from Africa, Armindo Mapoissa.

Every activity and session during the Young Leaders Summit were meant to lead to the accomplishment of the following goals:

The objectives of this Summit are:

  • To help conference leaders identify the young leaders among them and invest in their further development.
  • To establish and develop relationships among young leaders in the Philippines.
  • To provide information on leadership development including perspective from our own culture and context as Filipinos.
  • To provide an avenue for sharing challenges and successes in ministry from differing contexts in the Philippines, allowing young leaders to learn from each other (ultimately strengthening ministries in the Philippines).
  • To allow young people the opportunity to identify the current realities of their church in the Philippines utilizing a framework of the Appreciative Inquiry and Future Search processes.

Day 1

Who’s Your Mary Rose?

We started the Summit with an Opening Worship with the keynote address of Mr. Jayjay Lizarondo, founder of Helping Overcome Poverty through Education (HOP-E). He challenged young people to work towards becoming God’s agent in building the kingdom of heaven here on Earth. He shared the story of how he met Mary Rose, a young child who was going through garbage for food and recyclable things at the dump site of Taytay, Rizal.

He created a short documentary about the life of Mary Rose and the other scavengers at the dump site. Eventually, he had partners that helped Mary Rose get out of a life of scavenging at the dumpsite. Along the way, Jayjay thought that he was changing Mary Rose. But it was the other way around, Mary Rose was helping him change his perspective toward God’s mission here on Earth.

Here’s the story of Jayjay Lizarondo and his encounter with Mary Rose.

At the end of his keynote speech, Jayjay challenged the young leaders to discover who their “Mary Rose” is and asked them to make a difference in such lives.

Day 2

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Young Professionals’ Ministry at Highway Hills UMC

Last night (Aug 30, 2013), I had the pleasure to share with the youth and young professionals of Highway Hills United Methodist Church in Mandaluyong City. The fellowship event last night is their first attempt to reach out more intentionally to the young professionals in the area according to Pastor Jose (administrative Pastor there), Dr. Crisa, Deaconess Aubrey, and Analyn (the 33-year old Council Chair).

Isn’t that awesome?

Nothing excites me more for the ministry when churches attempt to do new things (new, at least to us as United Methodists, heheh) for the Lord. Highway Hills UMC has a good location — it’s very near the business district of Ortigas, Greenfield District in Shaw, and Boni-Pioneer. So if they find a good, solid strategy to reach out to young professionals in the area, imagine the impact! Continue reading

Why Young People Leave the (Mainline) Church

Earlier today, I posted a question on my Facebook wall about young people looking for new ways to express their faith. It kind piqued the interest of some young adult friends. Here’s what I posted:

How many of the young people in the mega-churches / new Christian groups / emerging churches came from mainline denominations?

Just some random reflections: Maybe young people are looking for new ways to experience faith;

or better connection with other young people in the same journey;

or a more relevant approach to / presentation of the gospel;

and they feel limited by the hundreds (or thousands) of years worth of tradition in the mainline denominations.

Maybe it’s the ministry “innovation” part that drives youth to new groups and new expressions of faith.

maybe…

 

And here’s the reaction from several friends: Continue reading

Bible Study for Oct 14, 2012: Draw Near to God

Read: Job 23:1-9; 16-17Hebrews 4:12-16

Lost in Space

Ibang klase rin ma-lost in space itong si Job no? If you read the passage, damang-dama mo yung hinaing niya, hinanakit niya, at yung pagtatanong.

He felt that God is nowhere to be found!

Sabi niya sa verse 8-9 (CEV):

I cannot find God anywhere—

in front or back of me,

to my left or my right.

Undestandably. Ikaw ba naman ang mawalan ng mga anak, ng mga kayamanan, at lahat ng ari-arian mo. And when you seek God, God is nowhere to be found! Continue reading

Train Young People to Become Entrepreneurs

How many Filipino young people today are unemployed?

What are we doing to help them? Are our ministries receptive to their needs?

Here’s one fact we need to realize:

The youth ministry of the UMC in the Philippines through the UMYFP caters to students. 

Why do I say that?

Just take a look at the attendance of Christmas Institutes, Fellowships, Sunday Schools, and yeah Student receptions. I believe it’s safe to say that 90% of active UMYFP members are youth who are attending schools, or those who have already graduated from college. Good for them. They are able to develop their social and leadership skills, and meet a lot of young people in the process.

I, myself, am a product of the leadership development of UMYFP. I owe a great deal to this youth ministry.
And yet…

The UMYFP, and the UMC in the Philippines, in general, is not very responsive to the needs of Out-of-School-Young people.

Right before my term as National UMYFP President ended in 2008, I had a meeting with one of upcoming youth leaders. I conceptualize a way for the UMYFP to be a little bit more responsive to OSY’s. I drafted a program, we requested grant money for it, and then I handed it off to the next batch of leaders.

Fast forward to today, the OSY program isn’t implemented yet. Several consultations were done. A potential community was identified. But sadly, due to several reasons, the project was not implemented.

Here are some thoughts on why the program wasn’t implemented: Continue reading

DiscipleSHIFT Presentation Notes

If you’ve attended my session on DiscipleSHIFT at any Revive Conference, here’s my Powerpoint Presentation. The videos are also included in the presentation.

Please take note, though, that this presentation doesn’t make sense by itself. So you need to listen to me as I deliver it. If we can record a video of my presentation, I’ll upload it here at a later time.