Category Archives: small group





Matt. 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Matt. 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matt. 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 16:15 ¶        He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Luke 24:47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

John 20:21 ¶        Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Only one has a prescribed process whereby disciple making could be possible. Yes you are right, Matthew 28.18-20. Here’s how it goes:

Delegated POWER v.18

We can have confidence as believers because He has delegated to us His authority. He overcame the power of death, remember?

Prescribed PROCESS vv.19-20a

“GO…” (engage) –with the goal of introducing people to Christ.

“BAPTIZING…” (establish) –to build them to maturity.

“TEACHING…” (equip) –get them trained to reproduce themselves.

“I AM WITH YOU…”  (empower)–to be sent with the power from on high.

Declared PROMISE v.20a

Look at how gracious Jesus is to us: “surely”, “always”, “to the very end of the age.”

What more can you ask? He even provided for us the process on how to make disciples.

So let’s accept the fact that…

Since We Follow God, We Make Disciples.


Have you ever wondered what should be the driving force behind every attempt to make disciples?

Here are some questionable ones.

“Evange-ligaw” (courting a girl), “Bible-steady”, “disciple-chicks” trying to be a missionary to the opposite gender. Hoping at the end they’ll end up being together. The person, most of the time, becomes a recipient of Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 6.14. Rather than winning the person to Christ, he ends up winning the person for his own benefit.

status to survive and acquire personal gain. In Judges 17.7-13, a young Levite became Micah’s personal priest (“this Levite has become my priest.”). Many ministers have become peddlers for profit rather than preachers of the Gospel.

Or many more other motives that Paul exposed in lives of the believers in Philippi. Out of envy and rivalry (Phil 1.15) and out of self ambition, not sincerely (Phil 1.17). So what could be the right motives in making long lasting disciples?

A Desire To Please God

2Cor. 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Pleasing God should be everyone’s business in every area of life. It is not a lip service; it’s our hearts’ pursuit. Faith then is necessary (Hebrews 11.6). Before you share and impart faith, you better make sure you’re possessed. Yup. Possessed with faith.

The Fear Of The Lord

2Cor. 5:11  Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.

We persuade men out of our healthy knowledge of the fear of the Lord. Are there rewards too? Definitely. But ultimately, we know that it is still the terror of God that makes us wise (Ps 111.10; Prov 9.10). And therefore makes us win souls (Prov 11.30).

Compassion For The Multitudes

2Cor. 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

“Out of goodwill (Phil 1.15b)” done “in love” (Phil 1.16a), melts the hearts of people. The Gospel becomes real in the lives of many. There’s an undeniable effect. They not only see it, they could feel it too. Now I am compelled. Not out of mere emotion, but out of sure revelation (Rom 5.8). See Matthew 9.36 and be convinced.

But here’s the twist…

Phil. 1:18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Wow… I am thoroughly amazed of Paul’s high end sincerity. In light of the Philippians’ ‘envy’, ‘rivalry’, ‘self ambition’, and lack of ‘sincerity’, you could sense that Paul had no trace of legalism at all! As long as men and women come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, it’s enough to make Paul happy. But I advice the ones who have adapted the opposite motives, get into further discipleship in Christ. Embrace the true motives he enumerated in his second letter to the Corinthians chapter five.

So the next time you’re tempted to adapt the false ones, think again.

As long as Christ is exalted above all…

Let’s go keep making disciples…

TOP TEN Classic Discipleship Quotes (Part two)

DUE TO SOME POSITIVE RESPONSES from our dear readers and our hardworking staffs, I decided to add a sequel of our top ten sayings.

Be inspired!


1) “As long as there is a lost person out there, we are not big enough.” –Steve Murrell

This is a good measuring stick for us to use as far as church growth is concerned. There is no room for us to be big-headed, but instead we need to be concerned about the lost world out there.


2) “Find out what God is doing in your generation, then fling your life into it.” –Larry Tomzsack

While Steve was listening to Larry’s sermon when he was a young Christian, he was so surprised by that statement that it solidified his resolve to being in ministry and to reaching the youth.


3) “When in doubt, TITHE!” –Steve Murrell

A businessman handed me ten thousand pesos in cash for my first ever missions trip to Indonesia way back in the 80’s. I was so thankful to God and so I asked Pastor Steve if I should tithe it. Well, you know by now what he told me.


4) “You’ll never be mistaken in giving.” –Juray Mora

I can’t think of any other most generous person in the Ministry, but Juray. He lives, breaths, preaches, and demonstrates generosity to the full. It behooves us to follow his example.


5) “Don’t make decisions based on money.” –Steve Murrell

We were trained early on to move in faith not by sight. Every time we do conferences and missions trips, we were challenged with this punch line. I guess this can also by applied when getting married! (Warning: This only applies to single people 40 years old and above.)   


6) “How are you going to face your problem, if your problem is your face?” – Luther Mancao

Well, I don’t really know how to categorize this statement. Pastor Luther’s sayings are beyond explanation most of the time. You just have to hear and meditate on it for a week!


7) “All roads lead to discipleship.” –Ferdie Cabiling

Rome has been that important of a city that they made all roads, during those ancient days, leading to the center. Well, there is something significant about the term; it was the concept Jesus emphasized before He left: discipleship.

We decided to live with this aphorism as our guide in ministry every time we do an activity in Victory Ortigas.


8.)“If you have to brag much about your accomplishments, then it must have not been big enough.” Mr. Broocks (Rice’s Dad)

I heard this several times from Pastor Rice’s sermons on leadership, discipleship, and ministry. This really helped him to be on the side of humility every time he is tempted to brag on his achievements. He heard this said from his Dad when he went home one day.

I’d been on the opposite side of humility so many times. I’m just wondering how much more if I had never heard this early on from Rice. Oh God…more grace.


9) “The greatest legacy you can leave behind in this life is the lives you’ve touched for God.” –Dr. Jun Escosar

Way back when I was a student, I would always think, ‘I want to be like Jun E when I grow up‘. He was the first guy who became our full time minister in church. One of the other reasons why serving God was exciting is because we see him exemplify that.


10) “Saan tayo kakain?” (“Where are we going to EAT?”) –Manny Carlos

Acts 2.46b “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…”

There’s nothing more biblical than finding out where to eat! Thanks Manny for inspiring all of us.


All throughout the twenty-four years of being a follower of Christ, I have collected powerful discipleship quotes.

Here are the following:


1. “Change the campus, change the world!”

The mother of all classic quotes. This was the very first ‘mantra’ ever launched way back in the 80’s by the master of quotes, Rice Broocks. It was so vivid because most of us were still university students at that time.


2. “Every nation in our generation.”

This is the most recent adage that Rice Broocks contributed. So simple yet profound that we named our worldwide movement after it. A powerful one – not only because of the name we got out of it, but also the mission of discipleship that is wrapped around it.


3. “A Bible and a passport.”

This was so real to us that a high percentage of our young people would want to go to the mission field. Most of us would apply for a passport, and be sure to be ready when he calls us to other nations. I don’t really know exactly who started this quote in the 80’s, but I could not think of anyone else but Pastor Steve Murrell.


4. “Why don’t you go home; take off your clothes in front of a mirror, then tell me if you are a boy of a girl?”

We were so much into helping others walk with God and become champions that we were all concerned about one another. So Pastor Steve asked me if I could help out this certain student named, Francis. While talking with him, I realized that there are fundamental issues I have to clarify before I proceed into this thing.

Ferdie: “Are you a boy or a girl?”

Francis: “I don’t knowww!”

Now, that was the start of a loooong journey to becoming a real man.


5. “Your Momma ain’t here!”

In one of our early exposure to Men’s Meetings, a young man in the Anson’s Arcade church venue was asked to share what’s in his heart to the expectant audience packed with disciples, young men full of testosterone. It was quite an inspiring exhortation that when he ended it with the quote mentioned above. Men…it was etched or shall I say, tattooed in our brains. To the middle-aged men today who were there during that time in the late 80’s; they could all point out to Jerry Santiago as the author of that phrase.


6. “If your son is acting like a monkey, it’s because he sees a bigger monkey in the house.”

I could sense that the short stint that the Lord allowed Omeng (Cervantes) and I in ministering to the Chinese youth in Dasmariñas Village, Makati was coming to an end. We were approaching the chapter on the Holy Spirit in the Purple Book that I knew some parents are a bit worried about, doctrinally. The spokesperson told me while surrounded by all the parents of these teenagers that his son was not really into it. “In fact,” he said, “ I have never even seen him read his Bible at home.” At the back of my head, I was thinking that this concerned father was treating Omeng and I as ‘hired’ teachers. Without hesitation, an aphorism just came out of my mouth!


7. “If you will not stop taking advantage of the girls here, I’m going to squeeze your b*@#s! You understand?”

Rico Ricafort was one of the youth pastors we had who made so much impact in many of our young people’s lives. He was a ‘shepherd’, indeed. A couple of teenagers were smooching inside a car in the parking lot before the youth gathering one Friday evening. When Rico found that out, he sat down with the boy and gave him a youth pastor’s straight-to-the-point advice.

Similarly, just a side note here, Joseph Carodan told one of the athletes regarding purity in the midst of fame in the sports world. “This (pointing to person’s heart) and this (pointing to the person’s crotch), belong to only one woman – your wife!”


8. “Every member a minister”

Denis Sy, the senior pastor of our San Juan congregation, once traveled with me to Bogota, Colombia back in 2002. We visited one of the larger Christian local churches in the world with a discipleship-based culture. We came back to Manila armed with a vision and a strategy wrapped into one.


9. Discipleship is relationship”

This statement hit the nail on the head. The right to disciple is earned through a framework of relationship. Joey Bonifacio, not only coined the term; he even entitled one his blog sites with it.


10.“It’s all about discipleship, stupid”

I was caught surprise when Julius (Fabregas) and I discovered the philosophy of ministry of the Fellowship Church, Dallas, Texas. ‘It’s all about the weekend service, stupid.’ I approached one of the pastors and suggested the above-mentioned cliché. I liked it so much that I named my Word Press site, ‘It’s all about discipleship, Genius!’


+1 This has been Joseph Carodan’s version of the Great Commission to simplify it for the athletes to understand. Whether he is doing the offering, preaching a sermon, or teaching in our school; he would always use this to wrap it up. I think he has been using this like an exclamation point or a period in a sentence for five years!

“We’re gonna rock this nation!”



VIP -EQUIPPING The Disciples (3/6): “It’s HIP To Be EQUIPPED”

WHERE DID YOU GET ALL THESE LEADERS, Steve?” inquired by a visiting missionary to our beloved pastor. “Just right here.” And he would add, “You should have seen them when we found them. You wldn’t recognize them at all! And you should have heard how (horrible) they preach before…”

We just laugh about it when Steve would tell these types of conversations. The ‘trade secret’ of the ministry was so simple but usually not given much attention: a consistent hard work of making and equipping disciples, in-house. The philosophy behind our version of ‘ENLI’– in-house leadership training school, ‘Leadership Labs‘ during summer time, two-by-two evangelism in the campuses, etc, etc…is the desire to raise leaders from the ranks. There is that undeniable culture of discipleship. Where streams of students would get, not just teaching-impartation of Bible knowledge and values, but also training, where there’s an avenue for impartation of skills and wisdom.

Ephesians 4:12
“to prepare God’s people for works of service…”

A conscious effort of ‘preparing God’s people for works of service’ across the board is what makes us able to multiply and develop leaders. A ‘man-of-God’ syndrome is abhorred, or at least, minimized. Success in ministry, at least in the campuses, is measured by having successors rather than a numbers game.

Speaking of developing leaders, one of the best descriptions regarding David that I really treasure in the Scriptures is the one found in Psalms. This verse really epitomizes the importance of having the skills needed in leadership as it is contrasted with having the character (integrity of heart).

Leading God’s people requires the balance of both.

Psalms 78:72
“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart (impartation by teaching); with skillful hands (impartation by training) he led them.

An “integrity of heart” – a “skillful hands = inefficiency.


A “skillful hands”- an“integrity of heart” = shallowness.


An “integrity of heart + a “skillful hands” = epitome (of a shepherd of God’s people).

I believe we have variety of opportunities for our local church members, who are small group leaders, to get to a place of further equipping.

Through our small groups, where each member is exposed to a firsthand life/ministry coaching; through our two years of in-house leadership training classes (E.N.L.I.); through our Leaders’ Lectures; through our bi-monthly all-small-group-leaders rally (V.I.P.); and every other month of impartation and encouragement from each pastoral staff to his/her block of small group leaders; or at least, someone who cares enough about you to share a time in a regular basis, to help bring you to a ‘hole natha’ level in leadership.

I hope by now, you’ve surmised how I value (as a local church pastor), leadership development. And I believe this is the way to be assured that the movement’s core values and DNA are passed down to the next generation of leaders.

I think my conclusion is undeniable:

“It’s HIP to be EQUIPPED!”

V.I.P. Disc. Leaders (2/6) ESTABLISH In Sp. Foundations & Sp. Family: “Quit Drifting, Get ANCHORED”

WHAT MADE THE GOSPEL of Jesus Christ penetrate the known world for only thirty-three years right after the resurrection? Imagine accomplishing that without mobile phones, internet, jet planes, emails, chat rooms, television, telephones, websites, etc.

What sort of transformation took place between Acts 1:8 and Acts 8:1? What happened between the conversion of the sinners to becoming preachers of the Gospel?

I believe it has something to do with the foundations laid in the lives of the new believers and the genuine fellowship (family atmosphere) formed among them. In short, they were established – solidly grounded.

Take a look at this:
Acts 2:42-47
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Apostle Paul himself was established spiritually – a foundation was laid, when a disciple named Ananias assisted him in his new-found faith (Acts 9.10-19). Then another Christian disciple, Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’), introduced him to the rest of the spiritual family (Acts 9.27).

Now, imagine the effect in his life and ministry. He wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, which were designed to help establish new believers in different regions, mostly churches he started.

One of the epistles, not the wives of the apostles, which he wrote to the Hebrews was designed to help them press on to spiritual progress and maturity. Some were neglecting the Word that he exhorted them not to drift away (Hebrews 2.1).

Try to look around us and see lots of people who responded well to the Gospel but in a stunted stage because they are drifting away like a boat, afloat but with no direction. No exertion of effort. Just at the mercy of the incoming waves. Before you know it, you’ve become so far away from the shore, and beyond reach.

But, thanks be to God, new believers don’t have to be adrift. They can be established firmly and securely (with the help of fellow ‘ship mates’).

When the storms of life start to attack us on every side; we will have nothing to worry, for our hope (Jesus Christ), is the Anchor of our lives.

Hebrews 6:19a
“We have this hope (Jesus Christ) as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

“In Blue Jeans” Philosophy

Laurie Beth Jones seemed to have caught the gist of the idea of being “in blue jeans” when she wrote her best selling “Jesus in blue jeans” book. It expresses the transition of spirituality to practical daily living in the business world.

Well, I would like to use the same idea, if I may. But this time in the area of discipleship.

Jesus prayed a prayer for the disciples in John 17.15 and it says, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

We are meant to be here to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples of all nations. And then the end will come (Matthew 24.14).

Immersed but not of this world. Living out the message of Jesus Christ now. Incarnational in our approach to ministry. The lost people around us would start to see how we conduct ourselves in an atmosphere of community. Trust will be developed in the process. From there will flow ministry, prayer, and conversation that in the end will lead to committing themselves to Christ.

Traditionally, our philosophy of ministry goes like this:

believing, before belonging..

Time and again, we try to present the gospel so they can begin to make positive decision, the get assimilated to fellowship. This is logically true and still valid, but churches are now beginning to realize that the opposite could also be true:

belonging, then believing..

People need to get a chance to be invited first into a community, hoping that along the way he/she gets the chance to hear the good news and believe.

Here is the theme song to our Leaders’ Convergence.

The Immersion

It was my first time to get exposed to a local church which has a small group-based church growth philosophy. There maybe a lot of baggages connected with it, but I got home with my traveling companion at that time -Dennis Sy, with a takeaway principle that helped us get to the next level of discipleship: “Every Member A Minister.” (Bogota, Colombia, circa 2002)