Saturday, March 12, 2011

TOPIC Regional Leaders Consultation

Had a great time this past week with pastor leaders from all over the Philippines at the TOPIC Regional Leaders Consultation. The following is a report I filed with Action International Ministries.


Christian Community Development Centre, Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines

March 8-11, 2011

TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition) is a coalition of primarily nonformal education ministries with the common goal of equipping undertrained pastors for the burgeoning worldwide church. In the Philippines, TOPIC is a commission of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC). The vision of TOPIC Philippines is “Every church with equipped and maturing pastoral leadership teams.”

TOPIC Philippines has 200 trained pastor equippers in all sixteen regions of the country. March 8-11, 2011, thirty-three regional leaders from fourteen regions gathered at the Christian Development Centre in Tagaytay, Cavite. The purpose of the consultation was to (1) equip and encourage the pastors and to (2) plan and coordinate regional plans for 2011.

Equip and encourage

With the vision of equipped and maturing pastoral leadership teams in every church, the consultation delegates explored the scriptural roots of multiplication. The group noted, along with other insights, that multiplication is God’s will with roots in the creation account and the Abrahamic covenant. Multiplication is natural in creation with creatures procreating after their own kind. Spiritually, God connected obedience and blessing with multiplication. Considering the scope of all Scripture, multiplication not only has to do with quantity but quality as well, multiplying character through discipling and mentoring.

The delegates also discussed “Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: The Paradox of Personal Dysfunction” (Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima, Sr.). The pastors offered heartfelt sharing, support and prayer with each other as they confessed their dark sides to each other. The “dark side” is the dysfunctional stuff we carry with us that must be brought under the healing hand of God. Everyone has a dark side but in leadership, especially Christian leadership with its pressures and unwritten expectations, sinful stuff can come out in unexpected ways and times. We hear of pastors falling into sin, immorality, anger issues, lack of integrity, and the like. As we face these issues God can bring healing and transformation. Like Paul, weakness can become the springboard for the grace of God to be displayed, victory experienced, growth realized.

Group devotionals also encouraged and inspired, offering much appreciated feeding to pastors who usually feeding others on a weekly basis. Executive committee member Pastor Roli Manuel shared that true success in God’s eyes is through a life of FAITH: faithfulness, availability, integrity, and humility. Ex com member Pastor Gil Balignasay led the pastors to the life of King Josiah. In Josiah’s devotion to God, he was a seeker of God, loyalist to God, promoter of God, and a revivalist in passion for God.

Plan and coordinate

In addition to coordinating schedules for ongoing regional training in 2011, long term goals were established called CORE 10K. CORE stands for Community of Regional Equippers. 10K expresses the goal to raise up 10,000 trained pastoral equippers by 2020. This goal will be fulfilled through widespread recruitment, mentoring, and training. Each of the 200 current trained TOPIC pastors will recruit and mentor four new potential pastors. The new recruits will be mentored and trained for three years, after which they in turn will each mentor four more for three years. The numbers crunch to well over 10,000 by 2020, leaving a buffer for attrition.

A role-up-our-sleeves spirit infects the TOPIC regional leadership team in anticipation of all that God will do in the coming years. In a land with a rapidly multiplying church, there is a critical need for multiplying leadership as well. By God’s grace, TOPIC Philippines will continue to fulfill the scriptural multiplying mandate as it seeks to establish equipped and maturing pastoral leadership teams in every church.

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