OXY-GEN Music Ministries in the Philippines
Charles Wesley’s legacy and influence can be felt in the United Methodist Churches in the Philippines. There are a lot of good choral groups in local churches all over the country. Young people, however, tend to look for more contemporary expressions of worship music. Praise and Worship music, usually with guitars and drums, are almost always part of young people’s events.
SPICE Youth, the youth organization of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church*, wanted to teach music skills to young people in their mission areas. They applied and got approved for a grant from the Division on Ministries with Young People.
Their project, entitled OXY-GEN Music Ministry, was implemented in 3 different locations: Good Samaritan Angat Mission Point, Good Samaritan Batasan Mission Point and in Good Samaritan UMC.
Through the project, SPICE Youth has trained more than 50 young people from different venues during the series of trainings and workshops. So far, OXY-Gen participants are in the process of practicing for their upcoming concert and recital in December 2016.
OXY-Gen, is an inspiration to young people who want to help other young use their musical talents and abilities for ministry in the church.
I interviewed Patricia Paraso, one of the coordinators of OXY-Gen Music Ministry to learn more about the project.
Patricia: “OXY-Gen because it’s a good metaphor for this generation. Oxygen fuels fire. The concept for the workshops is to “kindle the passion of the youth generation and keep the love of Jesus Christ ablaze in our hearts by providing a venue to discover and nurture their gifts through praise and worship…. We wanted to help them become, not only future praise and worship leaders, but leaders in the church as well.”
What are your visions and goals with this project?
Patricia: “We believe music and dance can be powerful tools to sustain interest in the Gospel. One of our goals is to teach them the importance of rehearsal as an effective way to keep them in church and lessen other worldly influence. We want to bring people to Christ by building praise and worship teams that are effective, relevant, and communicative to this generation. Our main thrust is Evangelism and Discipleship through praise and worship music, and dance.
The project is in line with our local church’s mission/vision: “to develop fruitful congregations of Jesus Christ through Nurture, Outreach, Witness and Resources focusing on: radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity.”
What are the components of the program?
Patricia: The Oxy-Gen project grant was scheduled to be implemented for 9 months. We chose to target and focus on the youth members of our main church, as well as the youth members of our mission churches. Skillful, credible, and talented Methodist mentors were tasked to become part of the program. We currently have five teaching categories: drums, bass guitar, lead guitar, vocals, and dance. Each workshop session integrates our goals for this grant, and it is held for 2 Saturdays every month.
Mentors of Oxy-Gen Ministries introduced to the participants (from left to right): Michael Maceda, Lloyd Balles, Jan Ellis Ladia, Patricia Paraso, Gene Matias and Rev. David Jonathan Alcantara.
What is the impact of this project to the young people’s lives and ministries?
Patricia: We are praying that this project can give them self-confidence and direction in their lives as they perform for others, especially as they perform for the Lord. By participating in praise activities such as the band and/or dance groups on a regular basis, they are testifying to the power of art and music and bring across the love and grace of the Lord in their lives. In the course of time, we are praying that there will be an inward change that will lead to transformed lives, which, in turn, can influence their friends, and their families, for the better. As the song goes, “they will know we are Christians by our love.”
*The Good Samaritan United Methodist Church is a part of the Quezon City Philippines Annual Conference East. It is located in Quezon City, which is part of the National Capital Region of the Philippines.