Story from the Summit: Lenmark Santos
By Lenmark Santos
Not long ago, my wife Helene was chosen to represent our annual conference (Rizal) in the very first Young Leader’s Summit in the Philippines. When I fetched Helene on the last day of the summit, curiosity hit me when I saw the passion and excitement on the faces of the delegates. What’s going on? I asked myself, and left with that question in my head.
After 4 years, I found the answers. This year, I was privileged to be the chosen as our annual conference’s representative for the Young Leader’s Summit 2016, and man, I learned a lot! It was also timely since I was also elected as church Lay Leader for the first time just this June. God knows I needed something new, fresh and inspiring that would help me and the church empower the youth of this generation for Jesus. Here’s some of the things that I learned thanks to the Summit:
Be Creative in Ministry
Sometimes we forget that the best strategy of bringing peace in the community is within the reach of our hands, found inside our homes.
Bishop Torio shared the Blue Ocean vs. Red Ocean business strategy. If we apply it to ministry, Red Ocean means doing what the other churches are doing. We exploit the existing demand and beat the competition. I’m not saying that this is wrong, but it begged the question, are we really intentional in planning and praying for the ministries we create? Do we just copy what the others are doing without thinking it through or because it looks cool? The Blue Ocean is where we create uncontested market space. We create and capture a new demand. This is where intentionality and contextualization comes in. What works in the community we are reaching for Christ? What level of education do they have? What things are relevant to them that the church can give in the name of Jesus? Being creative in existing and new ministries in the church is definitely useful in doing the Great Commission.
Bringing Peace by Sharing Food
Brother Darnell Barkman shared a powerful true story of bringing peace in the community. Their strategy? Sharing food with the kids playing in front of their house. This act of love then inspired other neighbors to do the same, bringing what they could prepare in the comfort of their homes. In no time, many children were being fed. These children came from poor families who are considered as illegal settlers in a lot near their house. One day, a conflict arose between the lot owner and the families. Threatening the families to leave for a building expansion, the families asked Darnell for help. Darnell used the same strategy, a dinner between the lot owner and the parents in their house. They began to peacefully share their sentiments and then God moved. The owner understood the families and allowed them to stay, diverting the expansion. Jesus ate with the people and His disciples. Sometimes we forget that the best strategy of bringing peace in the community is within the reach of our hands, found inside our homes.
From Transactional to Transformational Fundraisers
[Effective] fundraisers create an atmosphere of love, accountability and affirmation.
In the Philippines, young people take time to raise funds for Christmas Institutes, summer camps and local church activities. But sometimes we tend to treat donors as ATMs and, as time goes by, seeking donations becomes harder and harder. However, Dr. Zenet Maramara shared that we should not be transactional fundraisers who just aim for the gifts and not the donors. The Transformational fundraisers develop a relationship with the donors. Donors are invited and encouraged to be Kingdom builders. Transactional Fund raisers visits, encourages, thanks and prays for the Donors. Genuine Transformational fundraisers create an atmosphere of love, accountability and affirmation that changes the donor’s mindset from giving when asked, into giving before asked. From giving the exact amount needed, into giving more than what is needed. Truly this is a eye-opener for me. I can’t keep to myself, that I had to other young leaders on how to be Transformational Fund raisers.
Seeking and Giving Help
We are grateful to have Young leaders from different countries like Vietnam, Mongolia and Laos. Hearing them share what God is doing is a great encouragement. I also felt blessed here in the Philippines where Christianity is not prohibited, and that we can worship anytime and anywhere. After a team building activity, facilitated by Brother Jhayr Canda, where we give encouragement and had the ability to learn from one another, I felt that called to further deepen our connection to UMC churches locally and in countries where Christianity is not legal. They need our help and prayers. There is tremendous opportunity of soul winning there where Christianity is a minority.
I believe God is moving in the United Methodist Church and doing a new thing in the lives of Young People
The Church Should Confront Difficult Issues, Not Run from Them
If I could use one word to describe my experience at the Young Leader’s Summit 2016, I would use the word ‘empowering’. I went home full of visions for my church as well as visions for the churches of my co-delegates in other countries. I believe God is moving in the United Methodist Church and doing a new thing in the lives of Young People, empowering them to be agents of change in the world. What a privilege and honor to be a part of God’s transforming grace. I felt that grace through the love and support of the entire staff of the Young Leader’s Summit. No words can explain how blessed I am!
Lenmark Santos from the Rizal Philippines Annual Conference East attended the Philippine Young Leaders Summit held in Subic Bay Philippines on November 2016.