Fish on the Other Side of the Boat: Message at Las Pinas UMC

Text: John 21:1-19


Have you ever been to a Worship service that’s not United Methodist? Ecumenical? How about one of those CF’s: VCF, CCF, GCF?

Try attending one worship service at CCF in Ortigas or pretty much any VCF in Metro Manila, and I bet that you could see 3 or 5 Methodist young people in attendance.

Or, probably, try watching the Social Media accounts of our young people, and you’ll see them Checking In and talking about the worship services at any of these “new” and very dynamic churches.

I grew up a United Methodist. I was probably singing in the choir already when I was still in my Mother’s Womb. Attended Sunday School, and ditched several episodes of Voltes V. I attended School for Christian Youth Development for three years, and since 1993, I’ve been a regular delegate of Christmas Institutes, except for about 3 years of College, where I grew my hair long, listened to screaming metal music, and tried to make sense of my faith, my life.

Right off the bat I could say that the United Methodist Church has a solid Children’s ministry and an awesome youth ministry which produces leaders in the church and in the society. But after that period of involvement with the UM Youth Fellowship, something happens.

Either there’s a hunger among young professionals/young adults we can’t address or their commitment to church gets buried in an avalanche of new experiences, new experiences, and ‘new’ expressions of faith.

And yes, I confess, I attend Bread of Life Crossroads 77 occasionally, when I feel like it.

What do they have that we don’t? Why are they able to attract more people while we seem to be floundering, declining, even?

Or maybe, those are not the right questions to ask at all? Continue reading “Fish on the Other Side of the Boat: Message at Las Pinas UMC”

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. Continue reading “My Prayers and Hopes for the United Methodist Church in the Philippines”

Five Media Personalities Influencing the Filipino Youth Today

Youth Culture keeps changing. Those of us who grew up in the 1990s fondly remember the music of Eraserheads, Alamid, Introvoys, Rivermaya, and yes, Parokya ni Edgar. It was the explosion of Filipino alternative bands! But the music of the 90s usually contained socially relevant lyrics. Magasin by Eraserheads criticized the prevailing smut and porn in tabloids. Huling El Bimbo, also by Eraserheads, talked about the loss of innocence and being caught in the “madili na eskinita” of various social issues. Parokya ni Edgar’s Buloy tackled the important issue of suicide. Agaw Agimat in Wanli Teltu criticized the lack of family planning and the population explosion in the country.

In the past two decades, the Internet rose in popularity, and the popularity of radio dwindled. CDs became obsolete and MP3 players became the norm. And so, I could say that alternative music, both in form and content, ceased to impact the vast majority of Filipino young people. Continue reading “Five Media Personalities Influencing the Filipino Youth Today”

HIV / AIDS a Growing Problem in the Philippines

HIV & AIDS seems to be a distant problem, which happens in other countries. But surprisingly, HIV and AIDS is a growing problem in the Philippines!

A total of 316 new HIV cases had been recorded last September. That was only for a month! For January to September 2012, the total number of HIV cases is 2,466! This number are only the reported ones! Some cases might be undetected and unreported, too!

According to a news reported by Manila Bulletin online:

2,355 out of the 2,466 [HIV] cases were males and the 20 to 29 year old age group had the most number of cases for 2012.

“For the male age group, the most number of cases were found among the 20-24 years old (15 cases), 25-29 years old, (26 cases), and 30-34 years old (18 cases),” the Philippine HIV/AIDS registry said.

What’s more alarming is the age group of those who have contracted the virus. They are in the 20-29 year old age group!

Young Filipinos who are in their twenties are in the most danger! Why is this? What trends make this danger all the more palpable? Continue reading “HIV / AIDS a Growing Problem in the Philippines”

Bawal ma-in love ang superhero

Ni: Joy Eva Bohol

“Do you have a boyfriend?” If you’re answer is NO, the follow up question is, “Why?” And the thread of questions and advises go on. I have been asked with these questions from the moment I turned 16 years old. And I am still dealing with it!

For several years of redirecting people from asking me those repetitive questions, I finally devised a not-so-perfect but smothering answer—“Bawal ma-in love ang superhero dahil kahinaan niya yun! (Love interest is the greatest weakness of a superhero!)” And the teasing stops (it works!).


Three days ago, I had a Smallville Season 10 marathon. Smallville highlights Superman’s life as Clark Kent. It narrates in details his life as a young boy, growing up in a normal community and raised by normal human parents. It describes his struggles in keeping his loved ones from danger and overcoming his weaknesses to be the superhero he was destined to be (before he was called Superman).

All people close to Clark Kent were put to danger. They became targets of the villains who are trying to defeat him. His friends, family, and love interest were subjects of finding Clark’s weakness. Clark tried to stay away from them, even if it means breaking their hearts for their own safety, yet these people whom he shared his life with, insisted to stay.

Martha Kent, Clark’s human mother, said in one of the episodes, “Clark, when we accepted you in our lives, we also committed to stay with you and protect you even if it means our lives.” Continue reading “Bawal ma-in love ang superhero”

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.



And here’s the reaction from several friends: Continue reading “Why Young People Leave the (Mainline) Church”

Three Things to Watch Out and Blog About – Youth, ICT and Technology

After my blog post on Disruption, I suddenly realized the importance of momentum. When you get disrupted, whatever momentum you accumulated evaporate into thin air! That’s probably why Multitasking doesn’t work either. You keep getting disrupted, you can’t get sufficient force to defy gravity!

Before I went to the US for our annual meeting on Sep 20-27, I was already doing a once-a-day posting in this blog. My Twitter and Facebook accounts were very active. I even signed up with Hootsuite to help me manage my Social Media campaigns.

Well, disruption happened.

Fast forward to today. I think I just got my blogging mojo back. And I’m back with a vengeance!


Continue reading “Three Things to Watch Out and Blog About – Youth, ICT and Technology”

The Power of Disruption

I was in Nashville, TN, USA from September 20-26 for the meeting of our office, Young People’s Ministries. It was an awesome experience and helped me feel more connected with my colleagues and it put some better context to my work in the Philippines.

It was also energizing to be with young people from the United States and all over the world. Although, some of our African friends only joined us via Skype.

Yet, even if I had a great experience over all. When I got back to the Philippines on the evening of Sep 27th, I only had the 28th to rest. I had two speaking engagements on the 29th. It was a crazy Saturday for me.

And then came Sunday and Monday.

I. couldn’t. get. back. to. work.

And I wondered what was going on.


Continue reading “The Power of Disruption”

How Do We Support Homegrown Startup Companies?

Startups are often associated with technology enterprises. Thanks to the likes of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and the rest of the technology entrepreneurs at Silicon Valley, startup companies gained momentum in the past three decades or so.

Recent startups that made it big include Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Mashable, Huffington Post and a couple of other Social Media websites.

How about in the Philippines? Do we have a startup culture?

Last night, I had a Twitter conversation with Peter Cauton, the blogger behind Here’s how the conversation went:

I also read Peter’s blogpost here: It left me with the question: How can we support homegrown startup companies?

In the first place, what is a startup?

Eric Ries, author of the Lean Startup, offers a Startup definition:

“A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”

It means then that startup is pretty much the product of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs face uncertainties. Lots of uncertainties. Yet, that doesn’t deter them from pursuing their vision. They launch their startups anyway. Continue reading “How Do We Support Homegrown Startup Companies?”

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.