My Prayers and Hopes for the United Methodist Church in the Philippines

The Philippines Central Conference, the highest decision-making body of the United Methodist Church in the country, will meet on December 11-17, 2012 at Bayombong United Methodist Church, Nueva Vizcaya.

For most people, especially those who have become cynical with the “political” process in the church, the Central Conference will be a battlefield with several groups vying for important positions and policy decisions. A lot of young people will attend the Central Conference this time, and if they saw this “political” process, they may grow disillusioned, similar to the reaction of many people to the General Conference last April.

For most hopeful Filipino Methodists, however, it will be a time of discernment and prayer for many things–the election of new bishops, setting ministry directions for another four years, and the healing of conflicts and strife. The UMC in the Philippines went through some harrowing conflict and a split, too, in the past two years or so. Thankfully, the ReviveUMC movement held a Grand Revival Gathering on November 30 to pray for healing and unity in the Philippine United Methodist Church.

I definitely hope that we’ll have more hopeful, prayerful, and passionate Methodists. Otherwise, we will lose young people in the Church. Actually, we may have lost a lot already. Watch the following video created by the UMYF of Rizal Philippines Annual Conference.

Gusto naming maging “Disciples in training!”

Can’t watch it? Please go to this link.

I also hope we realize and put in practice that the Central Conference is MORE THAN just a place to elect bishops, rather, it is the place to look at the future and decide on the best courses of action for the church in the Philippines.

Whoever becomes the next bishops, I hope that the they, and the WHOLE church really, would give priority to the following ministries:

PRIMARY FOCUS: Making DISCIPLES one through and/or supported by the following ministries:

1. Small groups ministry (Okay, G12 looks good, but if we want to use in our church, it HAS to be contextualized for UMC and for Filipino culture!)
2. Media ministries. Radio ministry is much needed. Video ministry CAN be done, just look at the work of Paula Bianca Lim and the rest of the production team at the ReviveUMC event!
3. Writing ministries. We need hardcore Wesleyan theology presence in the local publishing scene. The Philippine Christian publishing industry is dominated by Calvinist/Reformed authors. Where are the Wesleyan writers who can help shape Filipino theology/theologies?
4. A solid, workable and sustainable campus ministries. We ABSOLUTELY NEED to be in the campuses. As Jesus said, the harvest is ripe and plentiful, but the workers are few.
5. Responsive migrant workers ministries. With eleven million migrant workers scattered to over 200 countries worldwide, we have the opportunity to minister to hundreds of thousands or millions of these Filipinos!

Those are just some of the things we can do! As John Wesley once said:

“Give me one hundred [persons] who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.”

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