6,700 viewers as of press time were equipped and empowered to face the challenges brought by the pandemic, through the “Evangelical Perspectives: The Role of the Church on the New Normal” online forum.
The webinar was streamed live in the Facebook pages of PCEC, Cross Currents Philippines and Far East Broadcasting Company last June 26.
PCEC National Director Bishop Noel Pantoja, in his appreciation message, told the community that no matter what happens in the new normal, the church is alive in impacting the society for the glory of God.
“The role of the church is essential at this moment. We thank God that the church continues to shine during COVID19 and the upcoming new normal. It’s not about the building or events, otherwise Christianity will be a long time ago.”
Bishop Pantoja added that this is the time for the church to be re-focused on the gospel, being true to the Biblical portrait of the church, to be the advocate, educator, mobilizer and trainor for the Great Commission. It is also high time that the churches help each other’s ministries in facing the new normal.
“If we are not united and refocused, the church may lose its relevance.”- Bernardino
Bread From Heaven Community Church Senior Pastor, Dr. Nomer Bernardino shared that the pandemic is opening a door of opportunity for the church to embrace greater unity. He elaborated that the church should refocus their ministries on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, in order to be protected from lost love, corruption, lukewarmness, moral compromise, religious gimmicks, and doctrinal compromise.
He also addressed the parents to refocus their families’ spirituality by getting back to family devotions so that they will remain united in the faith and to equip the next generation with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, because church begins at home.
In conclusion, Dr. Bernardino also told the Evangelical community to refocus and redefine their understanding of fellowship based on Acts 4:23: being united together prayerfully in sharing each other’s burden and in united generosity.
“The Church Must Translate Faith Into Action.”- Ang
Dr. Alvin Ang, Director of Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development and Associate Pastor of Capital City Alliance Church, emphasized that the nation is not just dealing with financial crisis but also economic crisis, where the supply and demand is fluctuating every single day since the lockdown began. He exposed that in spite of the government effort to alleviate the economy, the nation has experienced a total job loss of 7.991 million, 20% low OFW remittances and 1.2 billion dollar loss in tourism.
Despite the negative effects of the pandemic, Dr. Ang believed that the church as the beacon of Christ, has the responsibility to empower the flock to translate their faith into action by bringing back the ministries into their families within our reach.
Dr. Ang admonished the Evangelical community, to retrace their first love, not to join the “this too shall pass” bandwagon, prepare the church for the economic aftermath, be honest about their fears, and at the same time, hold on to their assurance that God will rescue and save them from the crisis.
Church Leaders as advocates of Mental Health
Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Violeta Bautista, Head of the UP Diliman Clinical Psychology Program and ATS Christian Counseling Program, told the church leaders that the church is the advocate of mental health.
Dr. Bautista explained that the new normal is about renewing of the mindset and working together as community in creating a just and sustainable world. Dr. Bautista added that that new normal is also a renewed set of attitudes and life competencies.
She is confident that despite the negative realities of the pandemic, the church is stepping up in reflecting on its ecclesiastical role in journeying with the nation on the new normal especially in the area of mental health.
In conclusion, Dr. Bautista challenged the leaders to know how to create mental health awareness, educate the members on the importance of mental health in their church’s online activities, mobilizing the members to be lay mental health workers and integrate the Gospel in addressing mental health issues, and create an avenue of lament to those who are struggling with emotional issues.
“May our churches be facilitators of well-being as we help create the new normal.” Dr. Bautista said.
Homeschooling: Education’s New Normal For The Church
Prof. Ched Arzadon of the UP College of Education exposed that 80% of students worldwide were affected by the school closures, erratic on-site classes due to increasing COVID19 cases, Teachers who struggled on different life issues, and the financial crisis of families that forced their children to drop out of school.
The greatest crisis of the education system, according to Prof. Arzadon, is the slow progress among 85% of Filipino students due to limited access to the school resources and lack of training among the teachers on althernative education.
In line with the present crisis, Prof. Arzadon told the parents to take advantage of the Homeschooling Education system because it will enable parents to reclaim their right to educate their children, orient themselves about the purpose of education, promote natural fun learning experiences at home, and to make the pandemic a teaching opportunity to tell them about character development, moral values and socio-civic issues.
She also told the Evangelical churches to partner with the families in motivating the children to enhance their literacy, foundational skills and encourage them to educate them at home through the Homeschooling Education system.
Many viewers conveyed their respective reflections on the webinar on how to prepare their churches and ministries for the new normal.
“The Church, the Bride of Christ, may choose to address the different development platforms (education, mental health, economy, etc) in the context of promoting genuine intimacy with the Son, the Holy Spirit, with the Word and with fellow believers.” David Liban, Jr. Alay Balay Board of Trustees Member
“The church should not just adapt to the new normal. The new normal should defined through the transforming power of the gospel.”-Rev. Rommel Yazon, CBAP
It is very informative and it’s so encouraging to know that we have hope and a bright future in Christ Jesus!”- Anthony Roquel, Victory Paranaque
“As leaders, individually and corporately in the context of the local church we must educate, empower, enable the Filipino children to bravely face the world and face life’s challenges especially in this time of pandemic as we see it today.”-Gemma Rodriguez-Sicat, CBAP
Watch the full replay here:
*Comments are from Facebook Live video from Cross Currents Philippines