Together with Kuya Prudy (our senior pastor at Grace Place) and Ardison (a college friend of mine, pastoring the youth at our University church), we attended a 2 day church growth conference at CCF last March 5 and 6.
Christ’s Commission Fellowship was our “incubator” of sorts. After my born again experience in 2000, and after I decided that I can no longer be an Adventist in 2001, CCF became our “adoptive parents”. While Joy and I did not actually enlist ourselves as members of CCF, we grew up in the faith in that church thru the dynamic Sunday services and by attending Bible studies (much like Bible courses). When we decided to restart the old Communities of Grace, and now Grace Place, CCF has always been our model. We studied their principles and methods on evangelism and discipleship. A church of 12,000 members is indeed a good one to observe when you’re starting a local church!
We have been trying to “decipher” their ways. Not until this conference came where they laid down their “secrets” to help out the churches. Ain’t secret anymore! :D
The experience and learning had been tremendous. I’d like to share a couple of great things happened in that conference.
Abante — no more Xerex!
The conference had several testimonies from both leaders and members of their D-12 to emphasize on the success of such method. But one that has struck me most is that testimony of the owner and publisher of Abante, a newspaper that became very popular in the 90s for starting a “smut” tabloid. The tabloid popularized Xerex, a sex advice story column. It even became a local sex film hit.
According to his testimony, his lifestyle has been that of a successful businessman “who started it all” — but never was really happy. It was in the 2003 Purpose Driven Life campaign where he was invited in a study group and received Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour. The very first concern he had after the born again experience was to change the culture of his company. He wanted to get rid of the sexually suggestive elements in his publication where the tabloid has been known for. With firm conviction from the Holy Spirit, in November 2004, he took off all the almost nude pictures and the following month, the popular Xerex column. He testified that he is even willing now to loose the company if that will be the cost of following Christ. With the help of CCF, there are D12s (discipleship groups) in his company right now.
I praise God for that powerful testimony!
I did buy an Abante tabloid today to see if everything I heard was true. Indeed it is. Praise God!
Disciples of 12
The highlight of the conference is the discussion on a church growth paradigm that’s becoming popular not only here in the Philippines but perhaps the rest of the world — D12 (Disciples of 12). Basically, it’s a method of discipling members of the church that I think, as far as my understanding of other church growth and discipleship principles are concerned, is most focused and easiest to deploy. I can’t discuss the principles of D12 here in full — I’m kind of simply overwhelmed by the amount of information involved. But just the same, my prayer is that God will work thru this method when adopted by Grace Place. The good thing about Grace Place is that we’re a church plant. We’re just starting off a culture. There’s no “old wine skins” that may reject the idea of a paradigm shift.
That’s all folks. I’m back.