PHOENIX (BP)–Filipino Southern Baptist leaders met June 14 in Phoenix to ramp up church planting efforts among the 3.2 million Filipinos living in the United States and Canada.
“We want to see the number of Filipino churches double,” said Roger Manao, president of the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of North America and pastor of Philadelphia Bible Church International. “We have 200 churches, and we are not doing enough. We have to do more.”
Manao said a strengthened emphasis among Southern Baptists toward reaching cities has infused excitement into Filipino pastors who see great opportunity among Filipinos to reach multicultural communities. Cultural understanding and insight into city life among Filipino Christians, most of whom live in the urban areas of the U.S. and Canada, make them a strong force in reaching population centers for church planting and evangelism.
“We are well-suited for cross-cultural ministry because of our cultural background,” Manao said. “We are multi-lingual, adaptive and accepting of other cultures. These are all strengths we can be proud of and use when it comes to partnerships with other ethnic groups.”
Jeremy Sin, the North American Mission Board’s multiethnic team coordinator for Asian people groups, encouraged the pastors to get mobilized through NAMB’s new Send North America strategy for church planting.
“We at different times and at different places have been blessed by Southern Baptists,” Sin said. “But we also have an opportunity to be a blessing — to see ourselves as part of that same Kingdom work that God has done in our cultures through Southern Baptists.”
Ken Weathersby, NAMB’s associate vice president for multi-ethnic work, said Filipinos in North America have a great opportunity to have an impact.
“God has given us an open door in North America,” Weathersby said. “It’s an opportunity to make Christ’s name known, to encourage the saints and to make disciples and new believers. It’s an opportunity to plant churches.
“With Filipino churches mobilized to partner with Southern Baptists through Send North America, our Filipino brothers and sisters will help us reach people regardless of ethnicity or other barriers,” Weathersby said. “They have been very effective and we expect even greater things as they continue to reach across their culture and outside their culture.”
The Filipino fellowship, during its June 14 session at North Phoenix Baptist Church, reported on its own church planting project, the Asian Multiplication Evangelical Network (AMEN).
“The aim of this year’s meeting is to educate and mobilize our Filipino pastors and church members regarding AMEN,” said Manao, chairman of the initiative which operates under the fellowship’s umbrella. “I’m praying everyone will be challenged to get on board our Filipino church planting movement.”
Created in 2010 by Filipino Southern Baptist pastors and NAMB, AMEN is focused on nine of the most populated regions in the United States, with “the objective to create church planting and multiplication awareness, and with a goal of planting 30 churches by 2021,” Manao said.
The Filipino Fellowship is comprised of 200 churches. The June 14 meeting drew about 60 pastors and laypeople from nine states and Canada.
Adam Miller is a writer for the North American Mission Board; Norm Miller is a writer based in Richmond, Va.