By Francis Canlas
Before knowing Jesus, I perceived myself as a typical person. I supposed that my drinking, smoking, womanizing and cussing were typical, light stuff. I thought that these things didn’t matter because I helped in our family business and served in the church choir anyway. But things began to change when I received the Lord on February 3, 1985 through the help of my youngest brother. He shared the gospel with me even after I taunted him with much persecution.
My calling in the ministry started when there was no one to handle the 30 home Bible studies produced during New Life 2000, a project of Campus Crusade for Christ. I saw myself visiting the target area every day.
My vocation as a church planter was affirmed when I studied at IGSL (formerly, ISOT-Asia) in 1990. Studying at IGSL developed in me the skills, knowledge, and character needed to be a church planter. I have planted seven churches since I became a full-time church worker. At present, I am pastoring an independent church in Manila called Hagios Community Church. Hagios now has two daughter churches and facilitates five groups composed of students and professionals taking Alpha Courses.
Then in 1997 came an opportunity to teach Foundations for Christian Leadership (FCL). I was hesitant at first to join FCL because I was busy planting churches back then. Jim Whelchel, the founder of FCL, encouraged me to multiply myself by training potential church planters. In teaching FCL, I met pastors and workers who needed to be equipped in preaching and discipleship. Serving with FCL is very fulfilling as I see pastors applying the lessons that I taught them. I am blessed that God has enabled me to use my knowledge and experience as a church planter to serve my fellow workers.