Over the last few weeks we baptized 4 people, not me baptizing them though; two were baptized by two different people who had made them a disciple of Jesus. I love how this ‘making disciples’ is going on, much more fruitful with more baptisms. In 7 months I have got 33 people around me and 12 Jesus family groups put up – everyone treating like family together – having spontaneous, spirit-led meetings as opposed to structured, scheduled ones. This is the way it works best here because as Filipinos we have community already anyway. One instance, if you go to any community and they see you just walking, normally everybody’s nodding their head if you look at them in the eye, because they think you know them and you think they know you and noone wants be embarrassed. And if they’re eating they will always ask you to join with them. Dinning tables are not hidden in the center of their houses. You can glance at them in the window or at the door of their house, or mostly they eat outside, take a table, invite someone to join with them. Somehow here inviting someone into a ‘house church’ meeting doesn’t work but inviting them into a meal always works! And that’s what a ‘house’ church is all about here. And stories come from all around you and you can share His stories with them too. At times we don’t call them a church now. Being together as a ‘family’ is much more appropriate and scriptural. A family of Jesus on the earth. A ‘barkada of Jesus’.

A BARKADA is the word here for a group of friends, usually numbering from 6 to 12 at most…but mostly 6. They normal gather anytime, everywhere, at any place, and a lot of different activities they do which is unpredictable. Everybody in the group can plan and everybody can support – the idea is they do things together, treating each other as family. They help one another if something’s happening to the other; they believe and trust one another; they love each other so much that even their own physical families they can leave. There is no hierarchy, no leadership, no titles, and no ‘general’ name calling like ‘bro’ or ‘sis’, but calling each other by their names. The word ‘community’ can not be so easily understood here for what it really is because it can be confused with the Filipino sense of community that is here already. Honestly I cannot use that word here coz if I do then I have to define what it is and it comes out as complicated. Instead I simply encouraging them with what’s is happening among them already. Recently my new Australian friend, Phil Walters, was with us in my province and experienced the Barkadas. He has some wonderful stories here: www.backyardbelievers.wordpress.com

Right Here, Right Now

Honestly though, to transition a church from Traditional / House Church Structures to simply being a ‘barcada of Jesus’ takes a lot of patience. And sometimes that patience seems wasted if the people you’re trying to change just end up become impatient with you. Why not start from scratch by just living in Jesus, right here, right now, and letting him create a ‘barkada’ around you? A wonderful book written by a friend, entitled Right Here, Right Now, can really help you deal with issues such as the traditions of men and the religious rules that prevent you getting the real thing. Get your copy here: http://heavenreigns.com/read/right_here_right-now.html, or contact me if you’re in my country at [email protected]