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Filipino Baptists aim for 100 new churches

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) — The Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of North America announced a new “20/20” initiative during their annual gathering held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

The 20/20 outreach challenges the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship to plant 20 churches in the next five years, which would result in 100 new churches by the year 2020. This project also includes cross-cultural churches as the fellowship attempts to reach those outside their culture as well as those within.

According to the 20/20 plan, there are 3.4 million Filipino-Americans in the United States with nearly half of those located in California. As part of the initiative, highly concentrated areas such as California and Hawaii would be the primary focus as hotbeds for potential growth.

David Sera Josef, pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship Church in New Jersey, laid out the 20/20 plan during the June 16 meeting, focusing on three main steps: discover, develop and deploy. According to Josef, the Filipino fellowship would locate places, partners and sponsoring churches in order to complete the first step of the initiative. The plan would then move on to developing potential church planters, sponsoring churches and church planting teams. Finally, the fellowship would attempt to deploy church planting teams, sending churches and partnering entities.

Josef assured those at the gathering that the vision set before them could be reached, noting that “God is always at work around us.” Six churches have already been planted this year as part of the 20/20 initiative, Josef said.

Jeremy Sin of the North American Mission Board’s Send North America effort urged those in attendance to “embrace the Baptist spirit” and to “face this challenge by faith.” Sin encouraged the crowd that “if we have the will … He will show us the way.”

Sin commended the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship for reaching outside their own culture to spread the word and planting churches cross-culturally in addition to the churches they have planted within their own culture.

Pastor Peter Yanes, current president of the Filipino Baptist Fellowship of North America, shared his optimism about the 20/20 challenge. “Right now I think we can overshoot the 20 per year and we might have the 100 churches right away in the next two years,” he said.

Yanes said Filipino Baptists have the capability to reach the high standard before them, stating “Filipinos are known for fellowship and [being] very relational in many ways and that’s part of us being Filipinos, part of our culture and that flavor we’re bringing in to our local churches and multiplying.”

The Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship will partner with the North American Mission Board, state conventions, local fellowships and churches across the mission field to make their 20/20 dream a reality, Yanes said.

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  • Daniel Woodman