From the monthly archives:

June 2006

Coming Ministers Meeting in Davao City, Philippines

by Original Author on June 24, 2006

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

My purpose for being here is to exalt our Sovereign Christ and to spread the cause of Christ (His church) to other lands. The Lord has abundantly blessed the efforts. As to be expected some of our outreaches are doing poorly while other are prospering. However each month we are constituting churches, ordaining new ministers and beginning new works of evangelism. Please continue to pray for us. Enclosed with this note is a letter sent to 130 ministers regarding a leadership meeting. I desire the input of the national ministers as to how we can best help them. After all they are the ones who will have to maintain and build our churches. If you have any Biblical concepts that would be of help or any encouragement it would be most appreciated.

Your Servant in Christ,
Gus Harter
When my family and I moved to the Philippines we had twenty-eight congregations and eight constituted churches. To the praise of our Lord we now have 130 congregations and 66 constituted churches. From 1994 to 2000, thirty ministers from America visited the Philippines to aid in starting the work. Elders Dickie Daniels, Freddie Boen, and Bobby Poe because of infirmity have been hinder in their ability to travel to be with us. Elder James Pruitt, who was the best help building church structures, has passed away. Elder Jeff Harris who was the leading minister in this work also Zack Guess, Donnie Halbgewachs, Nathan Pitney and others are majoring in helping to plant churches in India, Europe, Africa, Russia and Mexico. We rejoice in the spread of the gospel to other lands. However with this flood of evangelistic effort in so many fields I am thankful for both the interest and the support we have received.

Because of the blessings of God in the evangelism of these islands we have new challenges and new opportunities. With the presence of our Lord being with us, let us face our difficulties asking our gracious Lord to sustain us. Let us be as the brethren in Jerusalem in the day of Nehemiah and together proclaim, “Let us rise up and build”. Nehemiah 2:18. I desire to labor with you in this great cause. I am constantly praying and studying for Biblical methods to encourage and aid our churches in the best possible way. Below are a list of areas that we can greatly improved our ministry and fellowship in the church of Jesus Christ

1. We need to unite in prayer for the presence, power and blessings from God. We need to pray for wisdom, judgment, and guidance in our labor. Let us pray for providential blessing in our evangelism. We need to pray for jobs for our daily living as well as for our family and church members. We often receive not because we ask not. However while we are praying let us with diligence labor to provide our daily needs and build our churches.

2. Churches, ministers, members and young people need the fellowship of those of like precious faith. Special meetings once or twice a year where churches could meet together that are close would strengthen and bring new life to our congregations. The churches of Zamboanga del Sur have been meeting together for several years with great profit. The national meetings in the past for ministers served to both unite and instruct our ministry. We need to study to see how we could afford them each year. If this type of meeting would be too expensive we could at least have them in local areas to eliminate the travel. In the past the young people met for singing schools and fellowship. Our singing improved and new interest was created among the young people.

3. Many of the members of different churches have requested song books in their native tongue, Tagalog, Cebuano and Ilongo. If ministers from each native Language would provide 50 to 150 of their favorite songs on standard pages (the size of the Old School Hymnals with both lyrics and music), I would be glad to put the books together and provide sufficient copies to each church.

4. Our Churches need to major in developing strong and knowledgeable families who are able to defend our doctrine with clarity and conviction. Our churches will only be as stable as our families. We have some excellent material written by Elders Mike Gowens and Zack Guess that explain the message of grace in simple terms that children can understand and remember. I also have five messages on both Christian Parenting and Christian Marriage. There is a great need to balance the doctrines of grace with practical living. We and our congregation must have a daily walk with Christ before our message of proclaiming the gospel will have a spiritual influence on those who hear us.

5. The continuation of evangelism and the planting of new churches is necessary to remain obedient to our commission as minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. Growth is healthy to our existing churches and is the church of tomorrow. It is best to expand close to home. We have the aid to our local congregation for encouragement. When a work is begun, if it is close it makes the follow up more functional. However if by Gods providence doors are opened at a distance, call me and we will see what can be done to help introduce them to the doctrines of grace.

6. A good library for our ministry would be helpful and beneficial. We need books with the Bible to aid us in our study of God’s word. I have in my computer the following books written by our people. “The Doctrines of Grace” by Lasserre Bradley, “Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptist” by James H. Oliphant, “Undeniable Doctrinal Truths that Primitive Baptist Believe” by Zack Guess, “Understanding your Bible and Old Testament Survey”, “One Mediator”, “Temporal Salvation”, “Basic Bible Doctrines” and “Born Again”, all by Michael Gowens and “Which System is Unfair” by Harold Hunt. These can help you with an understanding of our doctrine and practice. In time, I desire to supply each minister with a Strong’s Concordance and a good bible dictionary. We at present do not have a CD duplicator but have plans to purchase one. When this is accomplished we will supply you with good preaching CD’s to broaden your ministry.

7. Many of our congregations are meeting in homes because of the lack of finances to provide a private church structure. It would be better if each church had a building. This is a common problem that most of our churches face. The church at Davao met in my home for over 2 years until there was not space for those attending. We then rented for 3 years meeting only on Sunday morning. During that time we saved enough money through contribution to build a small building. Knowing the poverty of most of our congregation, a better approach would be to find a convenient lot that someone would allow the church to build a temporary building. Building a structure with light material could be built for (P5,000.00) Five Thousand Pesos. If the church is a constituted Primitive Baptist church being served by an ordained Primitive Baptist Minister and funds are available, the materials for the building will be purchased. In the future we may be able to aid in more permanent buildings.

I know there are other needs that you may have more important to you than those listed that would help in the growth and planting of churches. I am open to the suggestions of any biblical approach that may help in building our Lord’s Kingdom.

I am planning a meeting of some of our ministers in Davao. The purpose is to study these ideas and brain storm others that could help our people. I need the input of my brethren. Because of space, expense, and practical purpose of the meeting it is unwise to invite everybody. I have attempted to select ministers from every area so that everyone will feel represented. If you have a good concept that you think we need to include please write it down and send it to me or share it with the men that are coming.

The meeting will begin at noon July 4th, 2006 spending two nights and leaving after lunch on July 6th, 2006. The ministers to be with us are as follows; Buena Asilan, Jovencio Bael, Manuel Briva, Ronie Cabaobao, Manolo Dalman, Antonio Decena, Efren Delmo, Liberato Gumahad, Noli Hechanova, Wendelino Lampad, Edmund Linatan, Dominador Lozada, Antonio Maglinte, Jerry Navarro, Roseller Nemeño, Sr., Marino Oliveros, Marion Omila, Raul Panes, Conrado Quinto. Edgar Sebuala, Levi Sebuala, Constancio Tejada and Warlito Yator. Come praying for the blessing of our gracious Lord.