Mission in the Philippines

Dec 10, 2022 | 0 comments

As members of God’s family, we are called to plant churches throughout the 2000 inhabited islands of the Philippines, serving as channels of blessing and grace by using our gifts with missional intent. All the while, recognizing one another’s gifts, embracing our diversity, and acknowledging the fact that different parts of the body of the church are needed to function together as one cohesive unit to carry out God’s mission to deliver the message of salvation to the last, least, and the lost. Last December 4, 2022, our brothers, Fusi and Pete, took the opportunity to fly to the Philippines and encouraged the church about the importance of cultivating teamwork as faithful followers and missionaries for Jesus. Hearts of many servants were stirred to a notable acronym of what a TEAM should be—Together Everyone Achieves More.

Fulfilling His Purposes With A Missional Intent

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 3:13-14

Pete refreshed our spirits as he spoke of what it truly meant to be a church: one team, one family, united in one spirit and one truth, working hand-in-hand to fulfill God’s purposes. We yearn to see God’s promises come to life, for we are not just saved to be merely comfortable in our seats and live as stagnant believers. We are to carry our identity as active missionaries that partake in the Lord’s beautiful plan for the Philippines.

But how can we work toward this goal? Ephesians 6:18 “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” serves as a constant reminder to us. We need to draw strength and courage from the One Above All, who will help us through it all. By bowing our heads together in prayer, we deepen our relationship with the Lord and solidify the foundation of our faith to be like a house built on a rock, able to withstand the crashing waves of doubt and the turbulent winds of worries. It is through this that we can swim above life’s currents and strive towards a communal goal fixated on a shared vision.

More so, leadership shouldn’t serve as a cork in the bottle that serves to stop the flow of an individual’s gifting, instead, leadership must enable the floodgates of one’s spiritual gifts to be freely manifested. The true measure of a Spirit-led church is not just in the number of chairs filled but the passion for making Jesus known through missions. Discipler and disciples together must be firmly grounded in their spiritual growth in the pursuit of God’s purposes. Cultivating the value of being deeply relational and not task-oriented should stir up the spirit of generosity, where everyone goes above and beyond to make sure that we give our brothers more than what we have received. In addition, fluidity and flexibility must also be present, allowing God to change the course of our plans and fully trusting in His never-failing power to guide our steps.

Forging A Localization Of The Gospel In Diverse Communities

Turns out, the greatest satisfaction in discipleship is not mere replication and application of one-size-fits-all strategies to represent Jesus Christ to another person. In Session 2, Fusi spoke intensely about the Church as a powerful instrument and a beacon of hope for unreached people groups in the Philippines. With over 202 people groups that mount up to thousands in population, a significant percentage of those people groups remain unreached, isolated, and seemingly disconnected from advancements. While there is evident awareness of diversity, the truest, most Christ-like form of discipleship springs from the genuine desire to abandon one’s comforts and conveniences. It is that courageous yet humble spirit that seeks to relate to people who are different from the way one speaks, looks, and does life that will serve as a challenge for the Church’s purpose and passion for making Jesus known—even in the most remote places and hopeless situations.

Believing that He is the God of every person will make us realize that there is no such thing as an ultimate, superior, and universal formula to make the Gospel reach the hearts of all communities in the Philippines. The session was an awakening reminder to debunk the idea of Western-led initiatives as the sole benchmark in evangelizing through all tribes and tongues. We are not meant to be rigid. We are not meant to blindly follow a traditional path, in which we forcefully fit a bigger shoe into a smaller one. Embracing diversity calls us to reassess, realign, and reprioritize our practices. Glorifying mere tradition will cloud our perspectives to build Kingdom initiatives that are meant to put to light societal taboos instead of neglecting to address them.

As we mirror what Jesus has done and trust that He is in control even in the midst of impossible situations, we will be able to reflect Christ-centered practices to cater to different people from various walks of life. A contextualization of the Gospel in every community will make the message of salvation encompass varieties of cultures and people groups in a more localized manner. After all, He isn’t a God who favors one group more than the other. The God who bears no favorites is the God of every person.

Fully Convinced of His Promises

Having been blessed by these powerful reminders from the Lord through our Sessions with Pete and Fusi, it is the Lord’s desire that we strive to be doers and not just hearers of His Word. Moving forward, we remain confident of this, that He who has begun a magnificent work in the Philippines will put it to completion until the day that Christ returns. But until we await that day, may we be reminded that our primary and ultimate standard in discipleship, fellowship, and evangelism is Jesus himself—the main and only benchmark of how and why we do missions and ministry.

Written by Ashley Cabria and Thea Vistar, Grace City Church, Manila, Philippines


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