The task doing Christian ministry has never been as exciting and challenging as it is today. In fact, there is now a consensus among sociologists and demographers that the old notion that the world would be secularized by the dawn of the 21st century has just recently been falsified by the sudden rise of interest in religion and spirituality almost everywhere around the world. This is most particularly true in the Global South, where the Philippines sits strategically and is said to be playing a special role, particularly as it registered an unprecedented growth among evangelicals in the last three decades or so.
For ELI Asia, this translates to more opportunities and challenges for Christian ministry, particularly the need to raise up and train as many workers as possible in the harvest field. True, many have already been deployed there for years, in their respective local churches and their vicinities and beyond. But as the frontliners of ELI Asia have found out through the years of providing biblical, theological and ministerial education to various places in the country, majority of these Christian leaders and workers are ill-equipped to address head-on the various challenges that constantly confront them in the field.
These challenges include that of properly handling the administrative affairs of their local churches, putting up effective evangelistic and subsequent discipleship programs for new believers in Christ, answering questions posed by the rise of various cult groups and anti-theistic movements, dealing squarely with the innovations of liberalism/progressivism even among evangelicals, providing pastoral cares to members in need, among others.
It is for this reason that ELI Asia was born in 2012, first in the heart of its founding director, Dr. Nicky Joya, then at its very first campus in Siniloan, Laguna, south of Manila, the country’s capital, which in turn gave birth to other campuses in Pampanga, Bulacan and Cavite.
We are a small band of biblical, theological and ministerial educators whose mission is to provide quality teaching materials and practical training for pastors, elders and other church leaders right where they are so they don’t have to leave their respective places of ministry. Such an arrangement is intentionally designed to make them fulfill their practical requirements for theological training, each with his or her own unique ministry context in view. It also relieves them of additional expenses like transportation, food and lodging, considerations students should face had they been enrolled in a seminary campus miles away from their places of origin.
By the grace of God, we have so far reached more than 250 students, representing around 40 churches, sitting under our lectureship, enjoying our fellowship with one another at our respective campuses, many of them in remote areas of the country, and still counting. Excitements among faculty members and students have always been the feature of every teaching and training session, especially during the question and answer portion.
Apparently, the cost of operating ELI Asia’s specialized ministries, which other than teaching also include personalized student mentoring and faculty development programs, has also been equally challenging. Our educational materials, though definitely on a par with what reputable resident Bible colleges and seminaries could offer, are priced at as low as Php 500 per module (in some places), which collected altogether would not be enough to cover our operating expenses. Yet inspired by the testimonies of many of our students as to how ELI Asia has contributed a great deal to the way they have become much more effective and competent in the field of Christian ministry than they used to be, and by the resulting growth of their church outreach programs, we press on toward the goal of reaching out to more fellow ministers and would-be ministers in the harvest field.
Through the course ELI Asia’s five years of existence, not a few Christian leaders in the country have expressed their desires for us to open more campuses for them. However, what often hinders us from accommodating such a call to attend to such a need at an opportune moment is our lack of financial resources.
Would you therefore please prayerfully consider partnering with us by helping us carry this burden with your financial support? Should you find us worthy of this, after having sought the will of God in this regard, you can rest assured that by His grace we shall be good and faithful stewards and dispensers of your gifts to our fellow servants of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the field for the further advancement of His Kingdom on earth and for His glory alone.
Looking Back at 2017
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.” – Psalm 33:1
We, at ELI Asia, look back at the year about to close and praise the Lord for what He has done through our ministry. To date, we have established the following campuses. These local churches have open their doors to us and other churches in their vicinity, and are hosting our classes.
- Siniloan Baptist Church in Siniloan, Laguna
- Christo Centric Baptist Church in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan
- Community Baptist Church of Calamba in Calamba, Laguna
- Fabe Residence in Masantol, Pampanga
- The Lord Reigns Christian Church in San Pedro, Laguna
- Bagong Bayan Christian Church in Dasmariñas, Cavite
In the loop are two more campuses that will be in operation next year— New Testament Baptist Church in Paete, Laguna and two local churches of the Foursquare Pentecostal denomination (to be identified later) in San Narciso and Iba, Zambales.
Moreover, it has been a joy to witness our church planting ministry expand. ELI Asia, through the leadership of Rev. Virgilio Bongao, our Church Planting Coach, is helping support and supervise ten projects which has resulted in churches being established in Laguna and Bulacan. We will be adding more projects in 2018.
We give glory to the Lord for these accomplishments, and look forward to what He will do in the near future.
An Inspiring Testimony of a Young Pastor
Pastor Christian Paolo Yumang already holds an A.B. in Theology from FEBIAS College of the Bible, arguably the leading Bible college in the country. Yet it seems like he doesn’t see himself to have already been equipped enough to pastor a local church, albeit in a mere associate capacity. Hence he did not think twice to enroll himself in ELI Asia’s Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program in 2014 when the leadership of the school launched its campus in Masantol, Pampanga, where he currently lives and ministers.
Not that FEBIAS has failed. And more particularly, not that ELI Asia has all that it takes to make this very promising young pastor and church planter supply what was lacking in his first theological training at FEBIAS. No, far from it. Not even the apostles had a claim to such a lofty expectation. Suffice it to say that Pastor Paolo, though still in his early 20s, loves the church and is driven by a vision to pursue his role as a pastor, especially that he is currently pioneering a church in a remote area not far away from his home church, the Lighthouse of Faith Christian Fellowship in downtown Masantol.
He knows he simply cannot do it alone. And not without further training in Christian ministry that would cater to his specific needs and longings as an outreach pastor-church planter.
That was exactly how he felt when he once dreamed of seeing the rise of a theological and ministerial school nearby, where he and his fellow pastors and other church workers can pursue formal training in theology and Christian ministry right in their own respective contexts of ministry. It is right there and then, Pastor Paolo surmised, where the faith of every Christian leader is meant to be tested and honed.
He therefore considered it a blessing when in so short a time his dream finally came true when ELI Asia started its programs at his hometown. It is his prayer to successfully fulfill the requirements of the program he is currently enrolled in so he can immediately apply everything that he could learn from it to his home church and the surrounding community.
“It’s not easy to study in a place far, far away from home,” Pastor Paolo said, reminiscing his five-year term at FEBIAS in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila as a Bible college student.
“We therefore thank the Lord for the ministry of ELI Asia to local churches in the provinces. It has been a great help to us as it has expanded and deepened our understanding of our relationship with one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord.”
Our ministry of providing affordable theological and ministerial training to pastors and lay leaders are made possible by the financial support of individuals and churches. Every seed that is sown is used to fulfill our mission of equipping leaders for effective church ministry.
For Local Donors
Donors in the Philippines may deposit their financial gifts to the following bank account: Triune Biblical Asia, BPI Family Savings Bank, Better Living Branch, SA 006253-1824-05.
For USA donors
Donors in the US may send their checks to World Ministries P.O. Box 491656 Leesburg, Florida 34749-1656. Please write the designation for your gift in the memo of your check (i.e., ELI Asia). Or donors may want to send their support electronically by going to the WM website (worldmin.org) or specifically, https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=E047DE00D3F04D8#. WM would then issue a tax deductible receipt.