I was working full time already in the church when Richt said ‘Yes’ to my invitation of a lifetime. Richt and I serve as teachers at Kids Church and both of us are leading victory groups.
One of the things that bothered me about married life was that our schedule will definitely change. That there’s a possibility of slowing down in ministry to spend more time together. We may have to choose whether we serve at Kids Church or serve as victory group leaders only.
All those worries and doubts were gone when we are clear about God’s mission to make disciples. We put it as one of our values as a couple to remind us of the great commission.
Marriage will not slow down your ministry if both of you love God.
We are still actively teaching and preaching at Kids Church and leading victory groups for single men and women, and newly-wed couples.
It has been made possible also because we have couples around us who are serving God and making disciples. In a time when marriages are short-lived, it is nice to see inspiration from couples who are passionate to do God’s commission.
One of them is Ardel and Lennie Cobangbang. This is their story as written by Tita Lennie:
Both Ardel and I became Christians in school – Ardel in high school and I in college. The campus-based Christian movement that was instrumental in sharing the gospel to us has a very strong discipleship culture similar to what our church movement has. We have experienced the love and care of people who have invested their time and resources to help us grow in our faith. Early on, we have learned the importance of discipleship in the spiritual growth and foundation of the new believer. We also like to invest our time and resources to disciple others as our mentors did.
As we grew individually in our Christian lives and ministries, the Lord has given us volunteer opportunities for greater outreach. Ardel became actively involved with an orphanage taking care of abandoned and neglected children. To counteract the adverse effects of the children’s previous lives and environment, the kids were introduced to the gospel and the Christian way of life and values – an opportunity for discipleship.
In the meantime, I was involved with an NGO that helped women in depressed and marginalized communities by helping them climb out of poverty through its various lending and training programs. Beneficiaries of the programs were introduced to the gospel as they were linked with partner Christian churches in their communities – an opportunity for discipleship.
At the present time, we are involved with an NGO that teaches music as a way to introduce the gospel to the poor and underprivileged elementary school children in the depressed area of Payatas in Quezon City. We not only feed them physical food and take care of medical needs but also give a large dose of Christian character building and values formation. Parents who have seen positive changes in their children because of the program have become volunteers themselves. This is once again an opportunity for discipleship.
Wherever God placed us, whether here or abroad, we formed groups and conducted our own Bible studies. At Victory, we are both volunteers in Kid’s Ministry – this time contributing to the discipleship of pre-school kids.
Who would not be inspired by their story and testimony? Richt was blessed to have worked with them when they went to Malaysia and Singapore in a mission to minister to the kids. She can fully attest how inspiring Tito Ardel and Tita Lennie are.
I asked them questions to give us perspective of why they do what they do.
How do you find time to volunteer and still make disciples?
We believe living with intention is the key.
When God showed us that discipleship is important to Him, we decided to make that one of our priorities.
We therefore do our activities with the intention of discipleship. We draw up our schedules to allot time to volunteer as teachers, share our professional knowledge and experiences to our NGO advocacy, and meet with our Victory and Leadership Groups – allot time to pray for them and with them, allot time to call them or send them messages. As long as this season of serving is possible with the grace of God, we are grateful to do it.
What is your encouraging message to all the married couples out there that they should make disciples?
In Luke 10:1-4, Jesus chose 72 disciples then sent them out in pairs. In our setting today, the ideal “pair” is the husband and wife team. They are more or less together most of the time; they are more or less of “one mind”; they can easily decide if there are financial, schedule and family considerations to resolve; and they could, of course, easily set up prayer times and priorities.
Redeeming the time is essential to this busy world.
One of our best times is car time in the middle of the traffic. We capitalize on it. It has become our engagement time, prayer closet, the business board room, the strategic planning table, practice stage where we rehearse our kids’ songs to teach to our kids’ ministry students, etc.
What inspires you to disciple even the kids?
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
Changed lives will bring about a changed nation and what better way to have an impact in the life of Filipinos than by reaching them for Christ when they are still young, moldable, and more teachable. Of course, we acknowledge that God can change a person whether he is young or old, have already set beliefs or not, because the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16) but kids are less guarded and less intimidating so they are far more receptive to the gospel.
What made you decide to still serve?
There are many “good things” to do. We would do them as God gives us the grace to do them.
There are also “God things” – the ones the Lord has revealed for us to do personally. Honoring God and discipling others is a “God thing” for us.
They are therefore a part of our priorities and intentions and this makes it easier for us to continue doing it joyfully while we can. Because of that, our activities are more directed rather than distracted. It is always, always by the grace and power of God.
What to do?
I am so blown away at their perspective about God’s mission in making disciples. That is enough said. So, what is our response to this?
Sit down with your spouse and honestly assess how you are obeying God’s commission (see verses below)?
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:18-20
Take time to practically look for opportunities to make disciples. Start small. Dream big! Pray!
WRITTEN BY: JUNVER ARCAYNA
PICTURE: ARDEL & LENNIE COBANGBANG