Filipino Simbalay Movement
(an initiative being proposed by Pat Mamaclay to reach the unchurched Filipinos of Hawaii)
WHAT IS “SIMBALAY”?
- It is derived from the Ilokano root words (SIM for simbaan [church] and BALAY [house]) Literal translation of SIMBALAY is HOUSE CHURCH. The focus of its activity is no longer in a church building but any venue where believers can gather – a home preferably. In its early stage of SIMBALAY, there is no Sunday activity at all so that it will not compete or duplicate the activities of a regular church.
- SIMBALAY is like a contemporary version of the early New Testament church in Acts 2:42-47 trying to replicate primarily the practice of learning together and ministering to one another instead of being dependent on a professional bible teacher or priest/pastor.
- SIMBALAY is a discipleship training program and a system and structure of soul winning and discipleship based on the life modeled by Jesus Christ. It is also an effective strategy for rapid multiplication and numerical growth.
- SIMBALAY aims:
– To bring the church experience (and more) to people who DO NOT and CAN NOT go to church on Sundays. It is designed exclusively for the UNCHURCHED by providing them different venues where Simbalay Small Groups meet for 2 ½ hours of fellowship, interactive bible study and prayer at different times of the day ranging from 11:00am to 9:00pm from Monday to Saturday.
– To mentor the unchurched to: a) read the bible daily and live its teachings b) develop a prayerful lifestyle c) to witness to others at every opportunity d) to attract new members into the group where the older members will mentor new ones to replicate the same experience of small group discipleship. The Simbalay Small Group meetings will try to provide all these in an informal setting where participants can have fun with friends by eating together and bringing home some food – or even sing and dance if needed. The idea is to get them together as if they’re attending a welcome or birthday party where they go beyond just praying for the food.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO HAVE A FILIPINO SIMBALAY MOVEMENT?
- Majority of Filipinos don’t go to church. And we are living in the 4th most unchurched state in America. An unofficial conservative estimate places only 10-15% of Filipinos attend church in Hawaii (including Catholics). Less than 3% of the Filipinos in Hawaii faithfully attend a Christian church.
- Many Filipinos attend church only for weddings, baptisms and funeral services.
- Many Filipinos claim to be Christians and can honestly declare that they believe in God, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and they even go to church occasionally. But majority of them do not really know or read the bible because their only claim of religious affiliation is based on where their parents had them baptized during their infancy.
- Work has become the greatest reason Filipinos do not or cannot go to church! The pursuit of the American dream is so ingrained in the Filipino mindset and its effect is so prevalent among most Filipinos today. Work has become our main preoccupation. Our lives and activities are built around our jobs. Most will sacrifice church in favor of work. I’m not saying this is wrong and I’m not pointing any finger to anyone because my own wife also faced the same issue before – until she became bold enough to declare “I prefer to remain as a part time employee and have less working hours if only to have a day off on Sundays so I can be with my husband in church.” Praise God her superiors granted her request for a Sunday off and they made her a regular employee as well. The spiritual future of the Filipino community is in great danger because many Filipinos are drifting away from God as a result of the work-work-work lifestyle. Many of them are losing their Christian identity while their young people are losing their Filipino culture because without Christian values they are easily drawn by the permissive and materialistic lifestyle around them. Live-in relationships and teen pregnancies are becoming more common among the youth in Hawaii and many of our young Filipinos are falling into this trend.
- The Filipino churches in general are facing financial challenges that limit its capability to reach the UNCHURCHED. Most Filipino pastors are bi-vocational and the numerical growth of Filipino churches cannot keep up with the population growth because many churches are simply on survival mode instead of being poised for evangelism. In their desire to increase their sagging membership, most of the Filipino churches are focused on getting a share of the 10-15% segment of the community who can go to church. And the sad outcome is the Christian population is hardly growing at all because many Christians just go around transferring from one church to another.
AN EVANGELISTIC CONCERT TO LAUNCH THE FILIPINO SIMBALAY MOVEMENT
A musical drama presentation is being prepared at Trinity Church with the help of a professional concert producer and the personal financial backing of my pastor. We aim to bring 1,000 people in 2 nights of presentations in Mililani and another 2 nights in Honolulu at Outrigger where she successfully drew 800 people in 2 nights in a previous concert she produced. Show date will be August after the UCF/Bethel International Annual Convention. We hope to attract a big audience of unchurched Filipinos through radio ads, offering raffle prices of round trip ticket to the Philippines, flat screen tv set, several pre-paid lechons for future parties etc. The theme of the show would be a true-to- life story of conversion from a worldly life and turning and serving God. Show will end with a video presentation of Simbalay, massive distribution of brochures, leaflets and dvd infommercials and signing up of those who want to enlist in the movement. A souvenir program will be prepared for advertisers and ticket sales to generate funds to cover production expenses and promotional materials.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
We are inviting:
- Actors/actresses who can sing, musicians, stage helpers etc who can donate their services or accept token of appreciation if there’s any earnings generated
- An alternative venue to Outrigger to bring down the production expenses
- Advertising solicitors and ticket sellers – with commissions
- Everyone is welcome to help and make suggestions on how to make this successful
My public appeal to the following for their special participation:
- The Aguinaldo family to help with their musical expertise – and host one night of the show too
- The Facun’s and their team of experts in promotions to bring out the Filipino BAYANIHAN SPIRIT to serve God
- All the UCF pastors for each church to sponsor 1 page ad by letting their members sell 100 tickets TO THEIR UNCHURCHED FRIENDS/RELATIVES until August 2013. Churches and town associations helping in selling tickets will reduce expenses for radio or TV airtime.