God's Work Cannot Be Quarantined
Challenged by a Rapidly Changing Landscape
As ministry front-liners in the Philippines, we could literally see how the landscape of pastoral ministry is changing before our very eyes. This health pandemic is bringing to an end the era of the corporate church model, and it is fast being replaced by the house-church model.
Allow us to share to you what has been happening in our part of the world:
- 40,000 small church pastors have had no pay for the past two months. The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) has launched an “adopt-a-pastor” program in an effort to provide financial support to these pastors.
- The majority of church members have little to no access to a reliable internet connection. One pastor-friend testified that in his church of 1,500 members (in Metro Manila), more than 50% have no access to the internet. If they do, they use pre-paid data, which is very limited and depends on how much data they bought.
- The vast majority of pastors have limited skill in social media technology, much less any experience in live-streaming their preaching or church worship services.
- The vast majority of churches are paying monthly rent that could accommodate less than 80 people at a time. With the physical-distancing measures, this dramatically drops to 20 people per service making it a huge burden on the mental and unreasonable to maintain the property.
The Rebirth of a New Church Model
The answer to these woes is to simply go back to the New Testament model of house-churches.
Every week, I (Jason) meet with 12 pastoral leaders for an hour of prayer and coaching sessions. In the past 60 days, God has been working deeply within this group:
- Pastor T transitions to the house church model and began teaching simple ways to facilitate a bible study, today he oversees 25 house churches in his area.
- Pastor G began equipping his members using a simple guide for studying God’s word and how to observe the Lord’s Supper. He started with 3 house churches and these churches reached out to their neighbors on their own. He now has 10 house churches under his network.
- Pastor E started teaching his members to observe the Lord’s Supper on their own, now he has 3 house churches.
Imagine, 38 house churches in 60 days and these report came from only 3 pastoral leaders! One of them said:
"For 3 years our church attendance averaged only 25 people every Sunday, but in just this past 2 months, our members grew twice with the lay-leaders doing much of the work."
Riding a Wave of Revival in the Philippines
God has released the latent energy of the Church through this pandemic. Let’s ride this wave of revival! Pray for us as we provide coaching, mentoring, financial aid, and prayer for our network of pastoral leaders.
We may be quarantined physically but, as they say, the Gospel and God's work cannot be quarantined.
Thank you for your continued partnership with us. You are always in our prayers.
Jason and Donna Tan
- Jason's testimony of "Asian Access came at just the right time."
- Dr. Jason Richard Tan serves on the A2/Philippines leadership team. He is the father of Joshua and Elisha, and the husband of Donna. He is also the author of Man Up: 21 Lessons Every Man Needs to Know About Manhood. Dr. Tan has had over 10 years of full-time pastoral experience with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines (CAMACOP) and is currently the president of Great Commission Missionary Training Center in Antipolo City.