ST. LOUIS (BP) — Finishing the first year of a five-year initiative to plant 100 new churches, the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of North America reported progress on their goal.
Filipino Baptist churches across North America have planted more than 20 new churches, Peter Yanes, FSBFNA president, reported during the fellowship’s June 14 meeting in St. Louis.
A “20/20” plan was initiated last year to reach more Filipinos in North America, who number 3.4 million according to the original report.
Yanes described the process as a collaborative effort by churches and believers to share the Gospel intentionally.
“Every believer should start a Gospel conversation, and followed by a disciple-making that would result to a Gospel congregation,” Yanes said in written comments to BP after the meeting. “An intentional discipleship process should be in place [in] every local church to make it work.”
Many Filipino churches are becoming international churches as they reach out to and bring in people of various ethnic backgrounds, Yanes noted.
New bylaws were passed during the meeting emphasizing participation and giving from partner churches, while 60 percent of the fellowship’s proposed budget was allocated to assist church plants. The fellowship also will be implementing the position of executive director in the near future. As the officer core turns over every few years, the executive position will provide stability and guidance, Yanes said.
Jeremy Sin of the North American Mission Board’s Send North America church planting initiative reminded Filipinos to be comfortable using their specific talents in the ministry. Sin, in speaking to the fellowship, described “different kinds of people working together” in the Bible by recounting the journeys of figures such as Paul, Silas, and Timothy. These men all had unique and specific talents that they brought to the ministry, Sin said.
Jeremiah Lepasana, pastor of Bible Church International in New Jersey, used the story of Esther in the main sermon at the meeting to relay a need for courage on the mission field “in such a time as this.”
Lepasana pointed to Esther’s willingness to risk her own life in order to save the lives of her people. He urged believers to be unashamed and unrelenting in their sharing of the Gospel.
“The greatest tragedy of our passiveness is to see the perishing of people closest to us, our own friends and family members. It’s unfortunate that, because we’re not emphasizing soul-winning enough, some of our people are not understanding that their loved ones are lost,” Lepasana said.