Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
The ministry I am involved in in Quirino HS (QHS) has this major difference with the one in Philippine Science HS (Pisay). In Quirino, I can do practically almost anything I want (a freedom not to be abused, of course) because I’m not in affiliation with any organization. In Pisay however, I am but one of the many volunteers under ACTS, an official Christian organization of the school. There are seven of us who regularly go there to conduct bible studies. The students are grouped by year level.
In Quirino, we no longer have the school’s support or even at least permission, unlike last year. But it feels like something is about to break out. Some of the kids there who go to our church are really hungry and just last week, initiated prayer meetings and brought their non-Christian or baby Christian friends to the prayer meetings. Many were refreshed and ministered. They are bringing in more. They have the vision to take the campus. If anything, nothing could stop them, only push them forward. And that’s what I’m there for.
In Pisay, I am still going through the discomfort of adjustment. The youth camp’s leaders or ate’s and kuya’s is a combination of Baptists, Evangelicals, non-denominational groups, etc. My partner in handling the sophomore bible studies is a college-student from a big non-denominational Bible-adhering church, praise God. 🙂 She basically receives instruction for the bible studies from her pastor or leader who used to handle the bible studies himself. Now, he’s delegated the task to her. First meeting we had, I came prepared with a talk and she also comes prepared with something. She was not informed that there’s two of us already for that matter. Or at least, I was not informed that my partner was leading that day. But we fixed that problem through proper coordination already. Thank you Jesus.
Then came the actual discussion topics. She was given a discussion material to follow. Good for five weeks I think. And so I made her take over for five weeks. Since I am not communicating with her leader, I have no idea what his plan for this group is. So I told my partner we should talk. Right now, her leader has not yet given her any material to use for the kids. So I’m taking over… for a while. Honestly, I am a bit lost at this arrangement. I might have to talk to her leader very soon. I’m not even sure if he knows I exist. LOL.
Maybe you get the idea already. I am trying to sense how to lead the group but she is simply following orders from somewhere else. It’s crazy. :O
Then of course I want us to have a regular time for prayer dedicated only for that bible study. I have preferences, way of doing things. It would be so much easier if this were under my church, but I have to acknowledge and respect my partner. We’re of equal standing as leaders of that group, although she respects me being her “ate.”
I have to commend her for her humility and submission, how she responded well when I initiated a talk and how she has maturely handled the group discussions and how she just respected my ‘sudden appearance,’ her being the one who has been working with the group for a longer period of time… I am blessed to be working with her. But then of course, the adjustment and need to communicate. And the fact that her church has different methods from my church. YES! And the fact that her leader has until now remained invisible, at least to me.
My pastor does not know this yet. And yet, our church youth ministry seem to have decided to let go of this ministry in Pisay, for a different reason altogether. I am tempted to think that my situation here is a bit complicated because it is not really God’s will for me to continue with ministry here. But here’s what God told me this morning.
Through Ako ay Pilipino, Jesus Revolution, and recently 1040 Movie Philippines premiere, I have become more involved with kids and adults from different churches and Christian organizations with varied cultures, methods and inclinations. Just yesterday, I was talking with Hannah (my friend from JREV and AAP and now 1040 Movie) about how the church in the Philippines somehow knows it high call to missions but has not mustered to consolidate its efforts and then unite in pursuing this call. Each one has its own effort. Big or small, they would mobilize for missions. But we just feel that if these small groups would help each other, more fruits would be seen. And there would be more unity in the body. Besides, it is precisely to unity that God has called his Church.
Hannah and I, together with some other young people, have witnessed what UNITY can bring. We’ve worked together, consolidated our networks, adjusted to each other’s differences, compromised (not morals of course) for the sake agreement, etc. When we choose to link up with others outside our comfort zone, there definitely is a COST. And that is our PRIDE. We cannot do things the way we used to but in giving up the less important whims of independence, we gain something better, the explosive power of diversity unified.
As I reflect again on the situation I am in in Pisay HS. I realize that God is teaching me the same thing. Riza, unity has a cost. It will bruise you, it will scrape your elbows, it will humble you. But if you back out from unity and try to do things in places where “submission to one another” is not as essential, you miss the whole point of being The Body of Christ. So I agreed with God, because true enough, Jesus prayed not to UNITE THE LOCAL CHURCH or SINGLE MINISTRY, He asked the Father to make ALL his local churches, ministries, and mission groups, ONE. If you find that rather heretic and difficult to digest, go read John 17 and see if there were any divisions in the final plan mentioned there. Or if any church name was to be the leader. To some, this may be a refreshing word. To others, it will be a tough rebuke. But blessed are those who will not be offended. 🙂
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:11