How did the Lord save you?
I was born and raised in the Philippines. My family came here in the States in 2000 when I was 14. Like many of you, I grew up in the church. But the Lord didn’t start working in my heart until I started going to my old church in Jupiter, FL. called “Grace Immanuel Bible Church.” Due to the rich body life and fellowship that church had, people started pouring into my life, loving and caring for my soul. My college pastor, Jon Anderson, who mentored me, who eventually trained me in ministry, and now a very dear friend of mine, was the instrument who God used to save me. He walked me through the gospel, watched my life, brought to light my inconsistencies, challenged my profession of faith, and explained why my soul was in imminent danger as a person professing Christ’s name but not really obeying His Word. He helped me over the months to see my sin rightly and pointed me to the saving grace of the gospel.
I started benefiting from the faithful preaching of God’s Word by my old pastor, Jerry Wragg. The Lord saved me later on. I started growing spiritually. This time, not focusing on my profession of faith and what I knew about the Bible, but actually showing the evidence of genuine faith by proving it through the obedience of God’s Word. How did I know that this time was different, that it was a real saving faith? I started having the power to say “no” to sin. I started gaining victories over my flesh. I started hating the things I used to love (worldliness) and love the things I used to hate (holiness). I began really loving the truth. I began to see the importance of the church. I started loving the body of believers. Humility became my friend and pride, my enemy. Trying to please men dwindled away while the pursuit of pleasing God became my utmost priority. And on top of all that, the more I saw how my own pastor and elders loved Christ and their flock, the more I desired to do nothing else but serve the Church in any capacity I could.
When did the Lord call you to ministry and how long have you been serving as a director?
I believe that the Lord started drawing me to pastoral ministry a few years after I got saved. After being saved, all I wanted to do was to serve my church in every opportunity possible. The more I served and the more I watched the lives of my pastors up close, how they served the flock by feeding them God’s Word, the more my heart started being drawn to pastoral ministry. Those who have known me for the longest time like my friends and pastors advised that I consider receiving pastoral training. Well, through God’s providence, Grace Immanuel Bible Church was also one of the campuses for The Expositors Seminary. So I attended and finished my training after four years. Throughout those years, the Lord, through the same people who initially advised me to receive training, challenged my character and confirmed my calling to full time pastoral ministry. I graduated in 2015 and was hired by Northwest Community Church as their new Student Ministry Director. It’s humbling to think that the Lord has called an inadequate and unable sinner like me to shepherd and feed His flock.
As I look back in my early ministry experience as a lay person and as a seminary student, as I think about what I have been entrusted by those faithful men, the more I see the importance of the local church and training men who would eventually take on the baton. That’s why I amount the totality of my pastoral training not in just the four years spent in seminary but the whole decade of being discipled at my local church by faithful men. It was an undeserved honor and blessing to be commissioned and sent out by my old church to serve my new church family here in Northwest Community Church. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for me here as I strive to model what I’ve been entrusted.
Describe both the training you’ve received and other formative experiences that have helped you be a more effective director.
As to my training and experience in pastoral ministry, I give all the credit to the men and women of Grace Immanuel Bible Church and The Expositors Seminary. B.B. Warfield said, “A low view of ministry will naturally carry with it a low conception of the training necessary for it. And a high view of ministry inevitably produces a high conception of the training which is needed to prepare men for the exercise of the ministry.” I can confidently say that this was true to both G.I.B.C. and T.E.S. Without the church’s high view of ministry, the seminary could never produce pastors who can rightly and skillfully handle the Word of God and have the character to shepherd His people.
I had such great classes, from Greek, to Hebrew, to Music and Worship, to Theology, and everybody’s favorite, Pastoral Leadership, where we got to talk about the pastor’s life. But the most thrilling part of my training was when I was able to take the things I learned in the classroom and apply them outside of the classroom in the day-to-day ministry of my own church with real souls. I was blessed to be under real pastors, real biblical grammarians, real theologians, and real shepherds. And what I love the most about T.E.S. was that these older men have been faithfully living out what they teach us younger men in decades. They know what it takes to be that shepherd who is after God’s own heart.
T.E.S. is known for their four pillars: Scholarship, Mentorship, Apprenticeship, and Fellowship. All four I have received in full, not only from the seminary but specially from the church. But what I love the most is Apprenticeship. Why? Because it boils down to this, “If you want to become a shepherd, you learn from a shepherd.”
What do you enjoy most about the ministry at Northwest Community Church?
I have truly enjoyed hearing different stories from every individual how the Lord has added them to this body of believers. I’ve heard many reasons what attracted them to Northwest Community Church, but the overarching reason is the faithful preaching consistently heard from the pulpit every Sunday. Stories like that makes me appreciate men who can rightly and skillfully handle the Word of God and have the character to shepherd His people.
My family and I have also enjoyed the Student Ministry. The students, their parents, and the leadership team have welcomed us, loved us, cared for us, and prayed for us since day one. Programs come and go and we enjoy them while they’re here. But the body of believers like those who make up Northwest Community Church is to be enjoyed and cherished until Christ returns.
How long have you served here?
I have enjoyed the opportunity of serving here since May 1, 2016. And I pray for more weeks, months, and years to come.
What is special about Northwest Community Church?
What’s special about Northwest Community Church is first, the body of believers who strive to please God and second, the leaders who faithfully shepherd and feed the flock. I believe that that’s the kind of ministry the Lord Jesus Christ blesses and grows.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in the Philippines. My family came here in the States in 2000 when I was 14 and we lived in South Florida. My parents and my two siblings are still living there while we’ve recently transitioned here in Phoenix, Arizona.
Are you married? How many children (and grandchildren) do you have?
Yes, I am married. Leslie and I have been married for over five years. We’ve been blessed with two lovely children, Ruth Lynn (Ruthie) and Tobias James (Toby).
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family in my free time the most. One thing we love is going on “pajama rides.” It’s when we go for a quick random dessert somewhere in their pajamas after dinner before bed. As a family, we’ve enjoyed a couple of road trips in the past to Arizona, Virginia, and North Carolina. I personally enjoy learning automotive mechanics so I can try and fix things myself. I also enjoy hiking, camping, reading, playing the drums, listening to music, and house projects. After resigning from the Fire Department, my wife and I started working out, running, and walking together. Leslie and I also enjoy trying out varieties of delicious food and cooking together for guests.