Rev. Johnny Dalisay, President of Davao City Ministerial Fellowship, invited me to lead a prayer for the Philippines during our meeting last Monday.
Before I prayed, he showed a slide presentation entitled A Description of the Evangelical Church Today. Dr. Cesar Vicente P. Punzalan, Deputy National Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), prepared the presentation.
I was glad when I saw the report of our growth as a segment of the Body of Christ in this land:
- In 1975, there were 4,900 PCEC-based churches, but some were not counted in.
- Today, there are 77,000 evangelical and full-gospel churches connected with PCEC.
- PCEC-based churches are now 12% of the total Philippine population
12% of 90,000,000 is 10,800,000. That’s how many born-again Christians who are connected with church groups affiliated with PCEC. There should be more if we’ll include those who claim to have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord but are not affiliated with PCEC-based denominations.
So, we have grown quantitatively as evangelical or full-gospel Christians! Praise God for this. We thank God for the church planters and evangelistic efforts of our congregations across the land!
Rev. Dalisay made a comment that despite the growing numbers of evangelical Christians in our land, the Philippines has become one of the most corrupt countries in Asia.
What he said was so true.
Here are the reports:
- In 2007, the Philippines was perceived to be the most corrupt in the Asia-Pacific Region according to the annual corruption survey conducted by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, based in Hong Kong.
- As of Monday, June 06, 2011, we were ranked as the 4th most corrupt country according to a similar survey by the same consulting group.
The Born-Again Christians increased in number, but their influence as salt and light of the world did not seem to be felt by the society-at-large! Why?
Dr. Punzalan explains:
We do not fully understand nor attempted to recognize and deal with structural evil:
- the lack of national righteousness,
- the lack of social peace,
- the lack of public justice, and
- the lack of economic sufficiency
as the whole body of Christ.
This theological inadequacy of the church affected the methodological aspects of its ministries.
Here’s how Dr. Punzalan sees the big picture in our public ministry today.
86% of our churches do not have enough resources, organizational sustainability, or community impact
13% are healthy having the capacity to engage in impact-driven ministry
1% have more capacity for impact to transform the nation and engage in international missions.
So, how should we then respond?
What if we start with a practical articulation of a biblical-theological framework that encapsulates all aspects of life and ministry which the Bible calls Shalom?
Shalom is understood as harmony with the Creator (spiritual transformation), harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation), harmony with Others (socio-political transformation), and harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation).
This theological framework can be adopted as one of the many models on how to develop a discipleship approach that would meet the current needs of our churches today:
- a biblical commitment to national righteousness;
- a biblical commitment to social peace;
- a biblical commitment to public justice; and,
- a biblical commitment to economic sufficiency.
We can respond positively to the 86% of our churches who want to develop indigenous resources and organizational sustainability in order to have positive impact in their respective communities.
May I share a vision called PAR 80 BY 2015 (PDF format). Dream with me for a moment: By December 31st, 2015, each of our 80 provinces will have a circle of God-fearing, ethical leaders called Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Communities! They would serve as the catalysts to organize PAR Teams in their municipalities or cities. These PAR Teams, in turn, would serve as conflict transformation volunteers and church-based advocates who will engage the local government units (LGUs) and other civil society organizations (CSOs) to initiate programs or to implement existing laws and government policies that are consistent with–
- the church’s biblical commitment to national righteousness;
- the church’s commitment to social peace;
- the church’s commitment to public justice; and,
- the church’s commitment to economic sufficiency.
These church-based PAR Teams would also initiate or get involved as volunteers in various community activities that will result to —
- spiritual transformation;
- psycho-social transformation;
- socio-political transformation; and,
- economic-ecological transformation
of our beautiful land!
God willing, by January 01, 2016, the 80 PAR Communities in the Philippines would advance as a Peace and Reconciliation Movement with an integrated framework for peace-building, who are organized in partnership with various parts of the People of God, who are mobilized to do ministries of justice and peace in the name of Jesus, and who will lovingly serve all the peoples of our land unconditionally regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political ideology, to the end that our land will experience holistic transformation!
Peace and blessings to all!