Adulting: How Long does ‘Youth’ last?

In my line of work (youth and young adult ministry), we often talk about the age range of youth and young adults. It varies in different places around the world.

With our church in the Philippines, the age for youth is between 12-24. In the United States, youth is from 12-18. When a person turn 18 years old, then he or she is considered a young adult and has reached the legal age. It means they are expected to be responsible for themselves and be liable for potential crimes or misdemeanor.

How long does a person stay as a ‘youth’?

It is fun to be a young person. It has its ‘stormy’ phase and you’re affected by moods and self-consciousness and many other issues. And then you grow up.

‘Adulting’ is one of those terms that recently caught social media’s attention. People post about getting an apartment, cooking for themselves, or just doing anything that is responsible and things that adults usually do.

I have recently enrolled in a Master’s degree in Youth Development. I am reading and learning a lot about adolescence, youth, emerging adulthood, and a lot of other things related to the youth and the process of growing up.

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The Word, the Web, and the Youth

I served as the National President of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines between June 2006 to May 2008. It was a great experience and helped me develop into the person and leader I am today. 

On November 19-20, 2007, I presented a paper entitled The Word, the Web, and the Youth as part of the Philippine Bible Forum organized by the Philippine Bible Society. Back then, Internet technologies such as blogs and social media started to takeoff. I explored the ministry implications of these technologies with young people. 

This paper represents some of earlier writings and it is one of my earliest efforts to understand the issues, trends, and challenges that young people are facing. In the process, I also wanted to help our church address these issues.

Reading it now, ten years later, some of it has become obsolete. That’s how quickly the Internet and the Web is evolving. But there are still some insights worth going back to. 

This paper was published on the compendium of papers presented during the Bible Forum.


The Bible is the timeless word of God (Isaiah 40:8, NIV). Through the Bible we gain wisdom, guidance for our everyday lives and solace in times of trouble and grief. More importantly, it helps us to know God more deeply. This paper seeks to describe the characteristics of modern young people and their culture. The internet, Friendster, blogs, online communities, video games and other online platforms affect the social skills, the learning processes and the spirituality of young people. Undoubtedly, the Bible is still relevant in the lives of young people. But do they perceive it that way? This paper will present a cursory glance on the issues being faced by young people and the relevance of the Bible to these issues.

A set of strategies will then be proposed in order to make the Bible more relevant to young people. Three main principles will be used in proposing this set of strategies. First, creative, “out of the box” methods should be used in presenting the stories and message of the Bible. Interactivity is the language of this generation so qany effort to reach young people should have this element. Finally, practical and contextual issues will serve as gateways in teaching “deeper” spiritual truth to young people.

Lastly, this paper will call for the establishment of a think tank body or a network that can help recognize the trends in youth culture and how churches and ministries can present the Christian message more effectively. The Philippine Bible Society, together with other youth and campus ministries can assist in setting up this body.

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Support My 800-km Bike Ride for #80Days80K

As United Methodist, I am looking forward to the Global Young People’s Convocation (GYPC), which will be held on July 18-22, 2018 at the Indaba Hotel and Conference Centre, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This is the largest, most extensive gathering of United Methodist youth and young adult leaders from all over the world. We are expecting between 300-400 delegates. Here’s the purpose of the GYPC from the Young People’s Ministries website.

  • Celebrating the mission and vitality of young people in the United Methodist Church
  • Raising the joys and concerns of young people from the global community
  • Developing young people as leaders for effective ministry in local churches and communities of faith
  • Highlighting emerging trends in youth and young adult ministry
  • Providing a common forum that embraces the global reality of the church.

#80Days80K Fundraising Campaign

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Breakup in the Time of Virtual Pag-ibig

I’m not really sure if young Filipinos still know the song “Isang Linggong Pag-ibig” by Imelda Papin. But, it accurately describes the kind of whirlwind romance not meant to last.

These days, though, love has moved to cyberspace and Virtual Pag-ibig is everywhere: lovers who have to deal with LDR (Long Distance Relationship) because one of them needs to work abroad; those who fall meet their beloved through online dating sites; maybe that hopeless romantic waiting to captivate a boyfriend (or girlfriend) from a rich country to spice their love life and save them from poverty; or just the usual boy or girl who connects with their loved one online.

It doesn’t just happen during Valentine’s Day, but here are ways that people break up relationships online.

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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

Sabrina Ongkiko: Ateneo Graduate, Public School Teacher

Ang SuperEpic Stories ay isang bagong series dito sa aking blog. I will feature stories from characters from the Bible, from history, and in our present day that illustrates the ideas and concepts in the book: “May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic.”

Feel free to use this as part of your devotion or study at para na rin matulungan ka para maging mas mabuting leader. Share it with your friends, too.

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Ateneo Graduate Pero…

Kung graduate ka ng alin man sa mga big universities sa Pinas gaya ng UP, UST, Ateneo de Manila or La Salle, people generally expect you to pursue a career in the corporate world or doon sa mga prestigious at medyo mataas ang sahod na trabaho, like the BPO industry.

Pero kung Ateneo de Manila graduate ka tapos mag-aapply ka sa isang public school bilang isang teacher? A lot of people might question your sanity. Gaya ng nangyari kay Sabrina Ongkiko.

In a TedX event at the Ateneo de Manila University in 2013, she told the story of how and WHY she chose the road less traveled and applied as a public school teacher at Culiat Elementary School.

Sa isang banda weird nga siguro kasi ang hinahanap ng maraming malalaking companies sa Pilipinas ay mga graduates ng big universities: UP, UST, DLSU, at AdMU. [Source: Jobstreet via].

Given a choice between a salary of P18,000 or P50,000, siempre, mas maraming pipili nung P50,000! Mahirap pulutin at ipunin yan no? Kung pipiliin mo yung P18,000, puwedeng sabihin sa iyo ng mga magulang at kaibigan mo: “Sayang ang pinag-aralan mo!’

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David: Fighting Giants

Ang SuperEpic Stories ay isang bagong series dito sa aking blog. I will feature stories from characters from the Bible, from history, and in our present day that illustrates the ideas and concepts in the book: “May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic.”

Feel free to share, use this as part of your devotion or study at para na rin matulungan ka para maging mas mabuting leader.
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Napag-utusan lang…

Bata pa si David noon. Bunso, at medyo hilaw pa sa karanasan. At kung tutuusin, parang napag-utusan lang siyang bumili ng suka. Kasi naman, his father Jesse asked him to bring bread to his brothers, who were serving as soldiers under Israel’s first king, Saul.

One day Jesse said to David, “Take this basket of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers. And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring back a report on how they are doing.” David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army at the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines. (1 Samuel 17:17-19, NLT)

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How Parents are Monitoring Teens’ Internet Usage

Every morning at work, I try to monitor my Twitter list of people and organizations working with young people. Through this, I have come across interesting research, trends, and articles on youth ministry and youth development work around the world.

The PEW Research Center came up with a new report on how parents are monitoring how teenagers use the Internet in the United States. Here are a few of their findings:

“A Pew Research Center survey of parents of 13- to 17-year-olds finds that today’s parents take a wide range of actions to monitor their teen’s online lives and to encourage their child to use technology in an appropriate and responsible manner.

Moreover, digital technology has become so central to teens’ lives that a significant share of parents now employ a new tool to enforce family rules: “digitally grounding” misbehaving kids. Some 65% of parents have taken their teen’s cellphone or internet privileges away as a punishment.

But restrictions to screen time are not always consequences of bad behavior, parents often have rules in place about how often and when their teen can go online. Some 55% of parents say they limit the amount of time or times of day their teen can be online.”

The report also includes an Infographic of some statistics:

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Jesus: SuperEpic Savior

Ang SuperEpic Stories ay isang bagong series dito sa aking blog. I will feature stories from characters from the Bible, from history, and in our present day that illustrates the ideas and concepts in the book: “May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic.”

Feel free to use this as part of your devotion or study at para na rin matulungan ka para maging mas mabuting leader. Share it with your friends, too.

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Noong panahong nabuhay siya sa mundo, controversial figure si Jesus, lalo na sa mga political at religious leaders sa bansang Israel. Galing siya sa humble beginnings. For one, ipinanganak siya sa Nazareth. Tanong nga ni Philip sa John 1:46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” At na-amaze sa kanya ang maraming mga religious leaders at teachers dahil kaya niyang makipagdebate sa kanila. Continue reading

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index and Ministry with Young People around the World

One of the difficulties of working with different young people around the world is that, well… they are different! Of course there are similarities in their stories of growing up, forming identities, struggling with poverty, and other issues. But there are complex political, economic, social, and cultural forces at work that make it impossible to implement a one-size-fits-all approach to ministry with young people.

Data can help formulate a more informed strategy in dealing with young people. They can provide guidance in addressing the pressing challenges among young people, confirm what youth workers on the ground already know, or help challenge a previously held view that may not be congruent with reality. Continue reading