By: Hazel Macalangan & Jeanelle Grace Lorilla
The Annual Next Generation Youth Conference is one of the most anticipated gathering of Evangel Family Church’s young people all throughout the Philippines. This year is Southern Mindanao Region’s 5th year to conduct the said event. It aims to immerse the youth in God’s presence through teachings and mentoring from the anointed servants of God and to encourage them through fellowship with other young people from the different EFC churches in the region.
To accommodate more participants, the conference was held separately into two venues. The first group was comprised of 133 delegates from EFC Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental & Tribal Sections. This group was housed at Welborn Beach Resort in Pantukan, Compostela Valley. Another group was comprised of 103 delegates from EFC SOCCSKSARGEN, Davao City and Davao Del Sur. This group was housed at the CCT Retreat and Training Center in Malungon, Sarangani Province. Though parted in two sections, the conference has the same theme: REIGNITE PASSION. It was simultaneously done on March 28-31, 2018.
DAVAO DEL NORTE, DAVAO ORIENTAL AND TRIBAL SECTIONS
Rev. Christine Wee welcomed the delegates with the message on “Investing In People”. She emphasized that people investing in people are the ones who really make a difference and will never be forgotten. The phrase “the greater the giving, the greater the living” was embedded in the hearts of the delegates. She reminded everyone of the verse found in Luke 9:24 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it”. She further stressed the importance of helping and adding value to others, quoting Greg Tingson’s statement “Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last”. The listeners were deeply touched by the passion of the speaker as evident in her years of serving the Lord as a missionary.
On the following day, the delegates were awakened with a beautiful sunrise. After the wonderful time of Praise and Worship, Ptr. Delia Miguel, of EFC Mati talked about the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. She explained who the Holy Spirit is and the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She stressed further that the Holy Spirit is the consuming fire and we cannot re-ignite our passion for God on our own, it is the power of the Holy Spirit who will do it as we surrender our lives to Him. She added that the Holy Spirit is the one who enabled us to love God and do His work.
In the next session, Ptr. Evelyn Calamba, of EFC Carmen shared the message on “Courtship”. It tickled the hearts of the youth and gave them a lighter mood but when she emphasized the subject on loving God will all your heart, soul and strength, the audience was glued on their seats. She then stressed on putting God first and letting Him be the captain of our lives.
The evening session was equally invigorating. Rev. Mivelyn Margate, Pastor of EFC- Marahan, Marilog District delivered a message entitled “Serve God in Your Generation”. She shared that time is very important to understand God’s purpose. She added that the youth must not waste talents, potential and energy because time is short and must be used wisely to honor God.
The last day of the conference prepared the youth for “Financial Stewardship”. Ptr. Isaac Mendoza of EFC Florida lovingly taught about the responsibility and power of money and how a Christian youth must act regarding this vital subject. It was then followed by the session about servanthood with Ptr. Emerita Aquino of EFC Macambol. Her sharing was entitled “Finding Your Ministry in the Church”. She shared that every member has a specific calling and purpose in the body of Christ. She encouraged everyone to be a doer of the Word and not just a listener.
Rev. Greg Simpas concluded the teachings with the message entitled “Reclaiming your Edge”. He expounded on the topic on how a dull ax can be much more dangerous than a well-sharpened one and how God can even make the iron swim. He mentioned the importance of studying the word of God and how God will give wisdom to those who wants to serve Him. He added the things to consider in reigniting the passion to serve God and the rewards that came with it as well.
Aside from the spiritual teachings, everyone was entertained with the Evangel Got Talent activity. In this event, each EFC Church had a representative to either preach or sing. In addition, to foster camaraderie amongst the delegates, an amazing race was organized wherein the participant’s knowledge about the Bible, perseverance and strength were challenged.
DAVAO CITY, DAVAO DEL SUR AND SOCCSKSARGEN SECTIONS
Pastor Albert Polinio, Jr. of EFC GenSan ignited the first evening service when he preached about “Do Not Say I Am Just a Youth”. To capture the audience’s attention, he included a popular hash tag – #batangmaylaban to specifically note that God designed each young people with a purpose and He will use them in expanding His kingdom. He gave different Bible characters as examples for inspiration like Jeremiah, Josiah, David, Daniel and Timothy to encourage each youth not to limit God in using their lives for His glory even at a young age.
The second day was enriched with Pastor Jane Polinio’s teaching about “Smart Love”. She began with a game which ended in recognizing those who are NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth) and NGSB (No Girlfriend Since Birth) who in our society today were usually being bullied. She discussed the importance of waiting on the right love in God’s time by gaining discernment through the knowledge and understanding of the word of God. She also emphasized that each Christian should know each other’s role and to look unto each other with brotherly love instead of finding the qualities of being a boyfriend/girlfriend material in a person.
The next session was with Pastor Willy Pontillas of EFC Koronadal who heartened everyone to be faithful in giving their tithes and offering through his topic about Financial Stewardship: Steward of God’s Resources. He spoke from his heart that a good manager of God’s blessings knows financial ethics, how to live in a budget and must be contented. He even testified the miracles they experienced in their church as they live a life of being financially faithful to God.
The night service was wrapped up by God’s word through Pastor Tony Angelias of EFC Kidapawan with his topic: Capturing God’s Heart. He spoke about the anointing that comes through submitting to the man of God. Pastor Tony quoted the relationship of Elijah and Elisha. Elisha received double anointing because of the way he honored those who are in authority.
On the third day, Pastor Rosepen Padua of EFC Magsaysay shared about “Discovering your call or Finding your Ministry in the Church”. She said that it will all begin with a desire to be used by God. It is important to have a local church and to have good standing in the church to be able to grow in that ministry. Followed by the message given by Pastor Liza Angelias of KFC Kidapawan who noted that each one can be a “Spiritual Champion” by removing the spiritual immaturities and move towards being spiritually matured. She further stressed that growth as a Christian is a necessity that we can develop if we desire to grow and nourish and exercise our spiritual gifts and have time and patience to develop it.
On the last day, Rev. Peter Wee touched each heart with the message on, “The Call of God”. Pastor Wee, mentioned an unnamed Bible character who keep delaying the call of Jesus into his life stated in Luke 9:57-62. He inspired every listener that the will of God is the greatest life we could ever live. The devil will always give us plenty of excuses to put off the call of God. He gave Peter and the other disciples as illustrations to eagerly answer God’s call. He spoke that when Jesus has called you, he will lead you, provide for you, protect you and sustain you.
Each conference day starts with a praise and worship service led by the music teams from EFC GenSan, Kidapawan and Davao consecutively. One of the highlights of the event was the water baptism of the nine youth who decided to follow Jesus. The delegates enjoyed the games including the Indiana Jones and swimming pool which the venue provided. And every meal time was a delectable treat.
Bidding goodbye was the hardest for everyone. The 4 days of soaking in the presence of God, building new friendship and listening to God’s servant through teaching and mentoring indeed ignites the young people’s fire to serve God. Each one went home encouraged and zealous to bring the message of hope, faith and love to their own local churches and community.