Who We Are
A Sharing, Caring Ministry of Love to the people on the Visayas Islands of the Philippines.
A Christian Outreach to the Philippines,
To Start New Churches, To Train Leaders
To Encourage Existing Pastors and Churches.
These three statements are still the guiding goal for Vision for Missions (VFM). Since 1985, many new churches have been started and several existing churches were provided financial support needed to purchase land and building supplies. Economically and politically many things have changed in the past 20 years but the goal of VFM are unchanged.
STARTING CHURCHES – Starting new churches has always been our primary goal. The pastors and workers on Negros have started over 50 new churches since 1985. Some are in the cities and many are in the rural, remote areas of the island. Several are house churches and have been started by men who were trained in the recent years of Leadership Training classes. The Negros pastors have set the goal of new churches 137 by 2010. VFM desires to work with the church leaders to reach this goal.
BUILDING CHURCHES – Land is very expensive in the Philippines and local congregations rarely have enough money to purchase land. Often most of the land in the major cites and towns are owned by people who are not interested in selling except at prices too expensive for most Filipino workers. Once a suitable site is selected, VFM will purchase the land and the building supplies. Most of the labor for constructing the building is completed by the church members. Usually the blocks are individually hand made by church members. Each year we hope to help four churches with land or buildings.
TRAINING WORKERS – We have three different types of Leadership Training to train new church workers for ministry.
An important part of Leadership Training is a Bible College education. For over 20 years, Negros Island had a Bible College (NSE) Negros School of Evangelism. This college trained several pastors whom are now helping churches on Negros and other places. The NSE college closed this last March 2009. We hope that several students interested in Bible College will continue at other established Bible Colleges at other locations. We still need a Bible College on Negros Island since we have about 90 churches presently and more are being started.
Leadership Training – There are three different types of Leadership Training presently being encouraged in the Philippine churches!
First is the formal theological training at a Bible College of young people. We now have a two year Bible College in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental called the Visayas School of Leadership or VSL. VSL was started in 2014 and is the only Bible College in the Ilonggo area. We enrolled students from Negros and Panay Island. VSL had five young men graduate in March 2016. Due to limited space only men are enrolled at VSL currently. The focus is training preachers for area churches. After two years of training some of the students may choose to continue their schooling at other Bible Colleges of the Philippines. For several years, we had the Negros College of Evangelism (NCE) in Bacolod City at the Green Plains Church of Christ facility. This small Bible College was discontinued in the 2008 school year.
Previously, several students from Negros attended a Bible College in either Cebu or Manila. Both of these Bible Colleges speak a different language than Ilonggo which is spoken in most of our churches on Negros. Sadly, for the churches of Negros, students who studied in other languages and islands often do not return to minister on Negros Island. We hope the VSL will encourage more Christian workers for the island of Negros in the future. A student can attend a Bible College for approximately $50 a month. We need more students in Bible College from Negros Island and other islands of the Philippines!
Second is the training of church leaders and pastors, in weekly small groups, in a discussion based program. . These materials are being prepared for leadership training and the program is often called “TEE ” (Theological Education by Extension). VFM is translating several books (of a possible 15 books) of materials for use in the local church to train leaders. These TEE materials are presently being used very effectively in several other countries of the world and have been organized by Bob Sheffler. The materials are written as programmed learning materials and has weekly discussions led by a small group leader. The leader of the local church can learn much of the materials studied in Bible College while continuing to work and live in the local church. Most leaders of existing church have a family and job and can’t leave home for 4 years to attend Bible College. Some of the pastors use the “Train and Multiply” lesson materials for leadership training. These materials are available in three languages: English, Cebuano, and Ilonggo. The 63 lessons of teaching materials are designed to establish indigenous new churches by personal teaching and mentoring of teachable students
Third style of training is to have a short seminar training of pastors and leaders of the local church. Many of the new churches have been started and led in the past ten years by men who have been in Leadership Training classes. This Leadership training is the key for starting new churches on Negros and the other islands in the central Philippines. Often, VFM helps with some of the expenses of seminars so that more leaders can continually be trained for church leadership.
All three styles of Leadership Training are needed. Only a few people can attend Bible College and most often they are young people. Married ,employed individuals that accept Jesus, usually can’t leave their homes and jobs to attend Bible College but they need training in their local church. VFM encourages young people to attend Bible College when possible but the church must also train qualified Christian leaders for church leadership locally. With materials similiar to those being used in the Bible College, leaders can be taught in the local church using TEE.
ENCOURAGEMENT – VFM seeks to encourage the workers to meet together monthly in pastors’ fellowship and working in unity with each other. Often VFM helps with medical assistance, food, transportation and various income-generating projects to help the pastors and workers. We desire to help pastors but not have workers dependent on VFM financially each month. The goal is to have indigenous churches and workers seeking to only follow the New Testament!
PASTORAL SUPPORT – VFM is committed to helping the people and churches of Negros. VFM occasionally provides supplemental financial support to pastors starting out or experiencing financial hardship. VFM’s objective is to help a pastor establish a church and congregation in his community. VFM will then begin to reduce financial support as the local body assumes the stewardship responsibility of supporting their pastor. We desire that pastors be supported by the local church and be self supported with a livelyhood program.
VBS and CAMPS
One of the biggest events in the summer is Vacation Bible School. Each year we encourage and help between 2,000 and 3,000 kids to have VBS. Also we hope many of the youth can experience a week at church camp. Usually about 400 kids are in summer camp each year in four locations. Thank you for supporting the work of VFM to encourage the youth and churches of the Philippines.
VFM ministry is so thankful for the prayers and support of several individuals and churches since in was started in 1985. The work began with the help of the Lakewood Christian Church in McAlester, Oklahoma and Oakwood Christian Church in Enid, Oklahoma. After that the Rogers Christian Church in Rogers, Arkansas began encouraging the VFM ministry in the Philippines. In the last several years several other churches has joined these three churches to help encouage the work of the Lord in the Phillipines. Thank you to the individuals and churches that make this ministry possible, meeting needs in the “name of Jesus”!