Game Changer

Jun 16, 2017

Cavite, Philippines:  Incorporating children and youth into our churches and intentionally discipling them in a personal relationship with Jesus, is a key component in growing our churches across the globe.

Pastor Stephen Gualberto of the GMA Church in Cavite, Philippines has taken this approach to a whole new level.  Gualberto is not only the Pastor of the GMA Church, he is also the Field Strategy Coordinator (FSC) for the Philippines and Micronesia Field.  As such, he is putting into practice this “game plan” in his own church  and community before encouraging those on his field to do the same. By doing this he hopes to demonstrate the effectiveness of such an approach while inviting the churches across the field to engage in similar approaches to intentionally involve and disciple children and youth.

“Every player is a disciple, every coach is a catalyst and every court a church.”

His approach is simple: Involve the youth in a sport with the following plan for each team.

  • 1-Coach – A young leader that is mature in his/her faith with a love for a specific sport.
  • 1- Assistant Coach – An emerging leader being mentored by the coach.
  • 6 – Players – individuals that are unchurched, non-Christian or pre-Christian.
    • Limited to 6 players on each team to make it easier for the Coaches to follow up with them on a personal level.
    • Players are recruited personally by the coaches or referred by other players.
    • Players on a team need to be the same age or younger than the coach as they will have more influence with them.

Teams are encouraged to meet during the week for practice, team building exercises, and fellowship as well as one on one discipleship. Saturdays are reserved for coming together for worship, study of the Word and fellowship along with the games.  They call this “SAMBA-LARO” (Worship and Game).

To be sure that all coaches are equipped to disciple their players, attendance in a weekly discipleship coaching group is a must, which includes the church’s Child Protection Policy training.

Gualberto’s church now has 6 basketball teams and is planning to start at least two volleyball teams next month with this same model.  His daughter, Dash, put together the video to help explain this unique approach to discipleship and involvement. Gualberto plans to roll this model out through the NYI across his field soon.

Please pray for those leading this new intentional model as they work out the details and encourage other churches to participate.

Pray for Pastor Stephen Gualberto as he leads his Field by example.


Todd & Connie Lou Aebischer

Todd and Connie Lou Aebischer served as Regional Communications Coordinator - Regional NMI Coordinator respectively for over 4 years. They are now serving in Papua New Guinea under Mission Aviation Fellowship as Country Director / Program Director.

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