Archive | July, 2010

My last trip to the Philippines – getting to know Life Church

13 Jul

Wanted to share a little about a new opportunity I’m really excited about: it’s our C2C (Church-To-Church) relationship with Life Church. It totally lives out our philosophy of “Deep vs Wide” missions.


At First Prez we strongly believe in helping the poor. But we also believe in helping with great intentionality and smarts. Otherwise, we might actually be giving only handouts instead of a real hand-up.

Our Global and Local Impact Teams (formerly known as Missions) carry out our philosophy of investing in fewer mission agencies and going deeper with them, instead of investing small amounts of money in many agencies.  We want to give larger grants to fewer agencies to make a deeper impact.

In fact, we have shifted our strategy to move from supporting ministries conceivably up to 122 countries to just five countries: Swaziland, Thailand, Bangladesh, China, and the Philippines. And we are going to concentrate on children at risk, women and the poor.

But more importantly we really want to make sure we are helping people through agencies in a developmental way rather than just provide relief. Giving a person a fish to eat is relief. But teaching a person how to fish is developmental.

Aware of our “deep versus wide” philosophy, Compassion International worked to find another Compassion church, like us, with whom we can partner and have a “church to church (C2C) relationship.”

The idea is to partner with another church with whom we can grow spiritually and increase our capacity for doing ministry in Jesus’ name.

Compassion has selected Life Church to partner with us in this C2C relationship. It is non-denominational church, led by Pastor Ancho Buenaventura, located in the city of Puerto Princesa in the province of Palawan in southwestern Philippines.

This will not be a top-down, paternalistic relationship. It will be a partnership in which First Prez and Life Church are equal partners. There’s much to learn from them, and they believe there’s much to learn from us as well.

Life Church has 3,000 members. They have a great campus with a Christian school all the way up to college. They have a computer lab and a studio for video ministry. They have a big heart for sharing the Lord’s message of salvation. They have planted 24 churches and plan to plant 12 more. They also set up six medical clinics once a year all around the island to help the poor.

So how can we help them if they are already a big and established church?

We can help by sending a team who can lead a pastors’ training conference for them in Palawan since many of the staff and the pastors in the area can’t afford to go to Bible college and seminary.

We can help by sponsoring the Compassion kids who belong to their church. Life Church may be big but more than 40% of their members come from poor areas.

We can also financially support the Child Survival Program that Compassion launched last year at Life Church. Through the program the church trains and educates young moms about health, sanitation, proper care of their babies and, of course, the Gospel of Jesus.

We can also help by sending our medical mission team to support their medical clinics. We can also send our youth groups and children’s ministry teams.

Conversely, Life Church can help us in various ways as their church is organized, growing and vital. And there’s much to glean just from the relationships that will develop as a result of this C2C relationship.

So let’s join hands with Life Church in Palawan in fighting the good fight against poverty and in sharing the love of Jesus. You’ll be hearing more about this C2C relationship in the months to come.


Hello, world!

12 Jul

After much prodding from friends, family and staff, I’m doing it. I’m starting my personal blog. Here you’ll find tall tales from my travels, reflections and daily musings…basically everything that pops up in my mind along the way. If you know me, you know how random that can be so I won’t promise to stick to any one topic or theme. Hopefully you’ll find some humor, some inspiration, something add to your journey with God as you witness mine. Thanks for bearing with me as I get used to this new medium. People have told me it’s cathartic. Let’s hope I don’t go overboard or quit before it really gets started. Wish me luck…er, um…blessings!