I have an amazing ministry opportunity set before me right now, one years in the making. And I’d like to have your support to make this happen. I’ve been asked by our denomination, the North American Baptist Conference (NAB), to commit to a multi-year ministry to teach worship and the arts at our Bible training center in the Philippines. Here is what Director Gregg Evans has to say about it:
“NAB’s flagship ministry in the Philippines—the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership (BCCL)—has been providing theological, Biblical and pastoral training for pastors, evangelists and church planters in the least-churched non-Muslim region of the Philippines for ten years now. The students are a mix of full-time Christian workers, active church members and college students from a dozen different churches, most getting their first systematic instruction in theology and Biblical studies. With a growing reputation for solid Bible teaching, the Center is quickly becoming the hub of Evangelical Christianity in Albay Province, and what it is doing in Albay is spreading to other provinces. BCCL has the potential to become the single most influential Christian institution in the region in the years ahead, impacting hundreds, and eventually thousands, of pastors, evangelists, church planters and rank-and-file members. Amid BCCL’s success in the area of theological and Biblical instruction, what has been lacking, and desperately needed, is an arts emphasis—a theology of the arts—and guidance in worship and music. In 2012, we want to start changing that, and we’d like for Manuel Luz to come out for a couple weeks to get the ball rolling. Manuel’s passion and expertise are exactly what are needed at BCCL right now. Please participate in the improvement of BCCL by supporting Manuel in this endeavor.”
I’m obviously excited about this opportunity for a variety of reasons. One, the Filipinos of the Albay Province are passionate and talented, but are under-resourced and need training. I have the opportunity to provide theologically-intensive teaching and musical training that has the potential to profoundly influence the tenor of the entire region. Two, BCCL has been an important catalyst in bringing together the many disparate area churches in an uncharacteristic spirit of cooperation and unity. I hope to increase this sense of unity through worship (the most moving kind of unity!) and eventually through outreach using the arts. Third, one of my main goals will be to establish long-term relationships with the many dedicated but under-resourced people there, and provide pastoral direction and personal encouragement to them.
My first trip will be for almost three weeks in February 2012. And to maximize my ministry potential, I am committed to making this an annual trip if it works out, hopefully bringing teams of people over the next few years. Oak Hills Church is firmly behind this trip and is the sending organization. But I will need to raise financial and prayer support.
From a personal standpoint, I feel like I may be uniquely qualified to answer this calling. I’ve never been to the Philippines, although I’ve wanted to go my entire adult life. To be able to explore some of my heritage and connect with it would be amazing to me. Please stay tuned to this blog, and I’ll give you more info as this unfolds. And if you are interested in supporting me, please let me know. Thanks!