We have reached our 10th year as International Witness Partnership Workers with Mennonite Church Canada.
Our first year was invested in establishing network acquaintances, getting to know the geographical, social, cultural, and political terrain of Mindanao, and learning from the wisdom of the elders, starting with our Bangsamoro mentor, then from among the elders of various indigenous communities.
The next three years were spent deepening the relationships with various community leaders who have welcomed and embraced us — to learn with them, to work with them, to struggle with them, and to celebrate with them — as they continually deal with the challenges they are facing as a people towards the attainment of justice, peace, and liberation from all kinds of oppression. Along with these relational emphases, we also spent much of our energies in institutional-building, doing the the difficult tasks of —
- identifying local leaders whom we can trust to lead this peacebuilding mission with us;
- training and employing key people to become a functioning team and as a formally-organized peacebuilding entity;
- registering our ministry as a non-profit corporation called PeaceBuilders Community, Inc.;
- organizing a profit corporation that would house our inclusive and regenerative development initiatives called Coffee For Peace, Inc.
Another three years were invested in connecting with the larger body of peacebuilding networks — provincial, regional, and national. We felt the need to help in the national peace and reconciliation among the major conflicting political parties and fronts in this country. Vision 2020 was articulated and adopted by our Community. We shared this vision with the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and they responded by seeking to contribute to the on-going peace process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH). PCEC also established their Peace and Reconciliation Commission to institutionalize the teaching and practice of Peace Theology among the evangelical churches in the Philippines. We also went northward to establish relationships with the various indigenous peoples of the Cordillera Region. The other key strategic move during this period was to multiply our teaching capability through —
- developing a teaching program and publishing a resource manual on peace and reconciliation;
- establishing a mobile leadership development program for peacebuilders; and,
- sharing our anabaptist peace theology with key leaders and requesting them to teach peace theology to others also by serving as honorary consultants.
The last three years were focused on leadership development. We have identified the candidates who would take over the leadership of PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace. Most of our energies now are focused on mentoring these Millennials who are actually running our field operations.
Here are the leadership principles we’re using:
WE ARE HELPING TO RAISE UP ETHICAL AND EFFECTIVE LEADERS
PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. is committed to equip and train spiritual leaders, who have deep intimate relationship with God and deep passion to advance justice and peace, to lead this PAR Movement.
Such spiritual intimacy with the creativity of the Creator, the peace of the Christ, and the energy of the Comforter would develop Christ-like leadership characteristics as follows:
Heart of a Servant. This is the foundation of biblical leadership (Mt. 20:20-28). Biblical leaders are servants who have been called, and who are willing, to lead. Biblical servanthood is motivated by Christ’s sacrificial love. The Lord Jesus Christ rejects mere position power as the basis of leadership in the Kingdom of God.
Soul of a Teacher. God taught us about the DivineSelf through the life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:1-14). His very existence served as the object lesson of servant leadership (Jn. 13:1-17). Jesus Christ is the Great Teacher.
Mind of a Manager. A manager accomplishes tasks through trained and disciplined people. Stewardship or management is crucial to our obedience in advancing the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ taught His disciples how to strategize their ministry (Mt. 10) and how to manage their God-given resources (Mt. 25:14-20). He commissioned His followers that the Great Commandment — To Love God and Neighbors (Mt. 22:37-40) — is best accomplished through the Great Commission — making followers of Jesus Christ To Love God and Neighbors as Christians go about their daily lives, as they baptize, and as they teach (Mt. 28:18-20). Both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission are to be accomplished through multiplication of trained and committed followers who would also equip other followers (2 Tim. 2:2).
Strength of a Leader. The strength of Christ’s leadership is His humility (Phil. 2:1-11). It is through life-giving servanthood and humility that we will experience effectiveness and stamina in leadership (Phil. 4:9).