Philippines: Training program equips lay leaders to share the Gospel
Nineteen new leaders graduate The Lutheran Church in the Philippines’ Biblical-Vocation Lay Institute
(LWI) - Nineteen laymen and laywomen of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP) are now ready to “Run With Endurance” after graduating from the LCP Biblical-Vocation Lay Institute (BVLI) on 5 March, “equipped and ready to share and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” LCP President Antonio Reyes said.
“The Biblical Vocational Lay Institute (BVLI) is an institution developed to train and equipped our young people to become lay missionaries with the knowledge of the Word of God for the work of Christian service” added president Reyes.
“Lay people are important because they are an integral part of the royal priesthood chosen to proclaim the wonderful deeds of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light," Reyes told the graduates and attendees.
A part of God’s mission
In a keynote message, Dr. Danilo V. Ayap, a member of the LCP Board of Directors and lay representative of the South Luzon District (SLD) said, “The graduation theme taken from Hebrews 12:1-2 deeply reverberates Gods’ calling for all Christians, guided by the Holy Spirit, to be part of God’s mission of spreading the Word.”
The group of graduates is the second batch of the BVLI program. The BVLI is open to Lutheran and non-Lutheran members ages 18-35 and older adults if desired, after qualifying in a screening process. The BVLI students are provided with room and board at the Lutheran Center in Tiaong, Quezon Province for the duration of the 9-month program. Subjects learned were within the framework biblical and practical studies, fieldwork and vocational training.
"I enrolled at BVLI to learn a vocational while, at the same time, learning more about God's Word,” said Romel Batil, class president and leadership award recipient. “I think that when I'll be able to work in my vocation, I will also share the Gospel with my colleagues, friends, and other people that I encounter.”
Called to serve in various ways
Although the lay leaders are not trained to have pastoral responsibilities, after graduation they are prepared to work and serve within their home congregations and communities in various ways.
“God is calling me to teach children and youth in my congregation. In addition to that, I am called to share the Gospel with my family, community, and friends,” said Hyna Tanas, BVLI student of the year.
The comprehensive BVLI coursework offered graduates training in writing devotional materials for young people, preparing lesson plans, catechism assistance, altar preparation assistance, leading prayers, organizing youth events, evangelism programing, and administrative assistance.
The graduates will receive a “love” gift according to their roles in the parish.
However, the geographic mission field is not limited to the parish or even within the country. Some graduates will have the opportunity to go abroad in the future.
“The staff at BVLI helps each student choose a course that fits their personality, gifts and abilities,” Tanas said about her experience.
The Lutheran World Federation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria – Mission EineWelt support and partner with the LCP biblical training program.