Pastors’ Congress 2021: Braving the New Normal with God’s Triumphant Hope

By: Mielyne Rayos Guinanao

The Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church Worldwide Pastors’ Congress is an annual conference attended by JIL pastors for their spiritual empowerment and organizational alignment. This 2021, however, the assembly was also opened to Church Management Team members and ministry heads from all around the world, making it the largest delegation to date.

As JILCW Vice President Ptr. Jovi Villanueva-Binalla puts it, the assembly is a prelude to the JIL Church anniversary celebration. Even though it is quite difficult to celebrate when people around are experiencing adversity, the celebration still pushed through. “When we celebrate the JIL anniversary, we celebrate the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every JIL celebration since 1978 has been all about seeing more of Jesus -- His lordship, His glory. That is worth celebrating!” Ptr. Jovi shared.

Fulfilling God’s Call Amidst the Pandemic

Ptr. Bobot Bernardo reminded all participants during one of the sessions that in this season of affliction, the JIL Church will continue to reach more people for Jesus. “Yes, there are challenges, but we know God is doing something supernatural these days,” he said.

Added to this, Ptr. Bobot also encouraged the pastors and leaders to embrace the change for breakthroughs to happen. “We cannot expect new things if we keep doing the same old methods. Let us embrace that now is the season of new improvements,” he shared.

Lastly, he appealed for the listeners to keep on serving God, to keep on supporting Bro. Eddie, and to keep on upholding the JIL ministry. “Wala po sana sa ating magsawa o bumitaw. Nawa lahat po tayo, ang sigaw ng puso ay ‘Count me in,’ (We hope no one grows weary or gives up. May our heart’s cry always be ‘Count me in’),” he added.

Meanwhile, Northern and Central Luzon Director Ptr. Alex Garcia shared that God still moves even in the middle of difficulty. As an example, he recalled how good God has been to JIL San Fernando, Pampanga when they victoriously constructed their two-storey multipurpose building amidst the lockdowns and the pandemic. “We did not stop being a church. May ginagawa pa rin ang Panginoon (God is still doing something),” he said.

On the other hand, the JILCW leadership formed the JIL C3 (COVID-19 Coordinating Center) Taskforce to monitor and assist JIL pastors and staff affected by the COVID-19 virus. After reporting details on how the COVID response was handled, Greater Manila Area (GMA) Operations Director Ptr. Virgie Hernandez also left an encouragement to all participants. She encouraged everyone to maintain an eternal perspective. “Let us redeem the time. Let us stay focused with our mission. Let us be flexible with our methods,” she added.

A special segment was allotted to remember and to pay tribute to the dearly departed pastors of the JIL Church. This portion consisted of Scripture readings and prayers for the bereaved families.

Among those who were remembered was Bishop Jovelio “Jovie” Galaraga for his contribution to the body of Christ, particularly to the JIL Church Worldwide. On behalf of his son Ptr. Joshua Galaraga, Bishop Leo Alconga of the Philippines for Jesus Movement received the leadership excellence award.

Facing the Future with Confidence

With all that is to come, the JIL Church confidently stands with the conviction that the ever-present God who provided guidance and wisdom since 1978 is the same God who will not forsake us in the coming years.

Aimed at increasing the efficacy of the JIL Church as an organization, its leaders have sat down and decided to restructure the system using geo-political divisions. From only three, the JIL Church now has 15 operations in the Philippines and around the world. These, along with the newly-appointed Operations Directors, Regional Directors, and Country/Provincial/State Pastors were presented to the delegates. The newly appointed pastors undertook an oath of commitment after being acknowledged. “Congratulations and welcome to the ministry of dying to self,” Ptr. Jovi said.

Bro. Eddie urged the JIL Church leaders, especially the newly inaugurated pastors, to aim for responsibility that roots from accountability. He noted that the standard of God should be the utmost priority. “I admonish all of you to do your best. We may pass men's standard but there is a possibility to fail God's standard,” he added.

The JIL Church for the Nations

As part of the JIL Church’s calling to exist for both God and the nation, a segment of the Pastors’ Congress 2021 was dedicated to underscore the importance of impacting change in the respective provinces and nations JIL pastors are situated in.

Senator Joel Villanueva heralded a call for relevance. “God's people should not just stay quiet these trying times. The ambassadors of Christ should be relevant,” he said, challenging the pastors to adapt to the changes and challenges without compromising their convictions and their faith.

Added to this, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Partylist Representative Cong. Domeng Rivera reminded leaders and pastors about the role of the church in nation-building.

This segment also included prayers for Christians in the public offices, even those seeking seats at the coming elections.

The three-day assembly was concluded by a Holy Communion followed by prayers led by Bishop Bro. Eddie himself. He asked that all JIL members around the world be sanctified so they can effectuate God’s triumphant hope in their respective social circles and communities.