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Philippines
Thursday, December 8, 2022

Divine Purpose of Stewardship

By Rev. Ruben Dela Cruz

A lecture on the occasion of “Steward and Church Resource Development: Using Church Resources to Sustain Christ’s Ministry” on October 19, 2019

We as Christians believe in our stewardship role of God’s resource. As such we acknowledge God Almighty as the owner of everything in the universe. Bible references both from the Old and New Testaments about ownership, OWNERSHIP belongs to Him (God), STEWARDSHIP belongs to us.

 Secondly, the church is endowed with vast resource, including faith resource, human resource, water, facility resource, very beautiful sanctuary, money resource and a lot more.

 Thirdly, as God’s stewards it is our calling to take care of these God-endowed resources, nurture it and make these resources grow to serve its divine purpose. I underline the word DIVINE to emphasize that there are purposes that God stated when he endowed these resources.

 Fourth, that we as God’s  creation are called to take part in Christ’s Ministries of preaching, teaching and healing.

 Fifth, that in taking part of Christ’s ministries we utilize these God-given resources in our hands. In the case of Moses in the Old Testament, God asked him: “What do you have in your hand?”  (Exodus 4). To Moses it was just a rod or a stick. To God it was an instrument for miracles. The rod or stick by the power of God became a staff of God and it was used to part the Red Sea, perform the ten plates, and to bring water out of the rod.( Exodus 17)

Shedding a tear over Brokenshire

After all, the Brokenshire Healing Ministry is a fruit of the ministry of the congregational church here in Davao at the turn of the 20th century. The hospital is your fruit.

 My engagement with the Brokenshire Ministries began in 1989 when the Office of the Bishop of the UCCP Mindanao jurisdiction transferred my base from Cagayan de Oro City to Davao City to represent Bishop Genotiva who was co-chairperson then in the stewardship of the closed Brokenshire Memorial Hospital and its 14 hectares property together with the Brokenshire leaders who are serving here.

 Brokenshire at the time was already closed for FOUR years.

And having seen the grandeur of the hospital in the 70’s when I was still a high school student, you cannot help but shed a tear as a UCCP member  seeing the physical devastation that has come to that once excellent, beautiful church-related facility.

 The following year, in 1990, I took part in an evaluation activity conducted by the World Council of Churches, Christian Medical Commission in the proposed plan to reopen the closed hospital. The evaluation was necessary to get a funding support from the Evangelical Church Service in Germany.

 It was also very important the evaluation to help chart the direction of the healing ministry of the Brokenshire and the UCCP as a whole.

 The hospital officially reopened in 1992.

A broken Brokenshire

In 1996 I was elected to represent the Southern Mindanao District Conference in the Board of Trustees and in 1998 was appointed to the position of CEO (Chief Executive Officer) after a two year search (for a CEO) rendered a negative result.

 I think that no person in his right mind would love to be in that position that time. It is only for the CRAZY ONES. I was reluctant given the enormous problems besetting the hospital during those years.

Besides, my reluctance emanated from the fact that I was trained for parish ministry. Not for special church ministries, like a hospital, school, or development agency such as social concerns development agency.

There were past financial problems with unpaid statutory benefits of former employees, unpaid real estate taxes, unpaid trade payables with suppliers, loans from banks and partner institutions, also there was a long list of receivables.

There were court cases involving the 160 hectares donation of the American Jew David Jacobson in Pantucan, Davao del Norte . There were squatter problems in the 14 hectares in the Madapo property.

 The buildings dilapidated. The medical equipment antiquated.

 The Church community was passive. Several Church leaders were critical.

 Brokenshire Memorial Hospital was literally broken.

 Then  the word MIRACLE became a daily part of our prayer as we begun our engagement with Brokenshire.

One of the pastors who communed about this everyday prayer of  MIRACLE was Pastor Soc Idul.

For indeed what happened within the 20 years was God’s miracle. Man, woman were just there to fill the jars with water. Turning the water with sweet wine was the working of Jesus.

From Chief EXECUTED Officer to

Christ Empowered Officer (CEO)

 At  first the CEO meant the Chief Executive Officer but CHIEF EXECUTED OFFICER, but coming from a pastor ministry background, right from the very beginning the meaning of the CEO position to me was not yet Chief Executive Officer But CHRIST EMPOWERED OFFICER. The CEO is empowered to empower others as well as who are members of the TEAM. Team was the acronym for TRUSTEES, EMPLOYEES, ADMINISTRATORS, and MEDICALS.

 It was fundamental to affirm that the task of the CEO is STEWARDSHIP not OWNERSHIP. It is servant leadership. Not superior leadership. Likewise, to affirm that the mission cannot be done by the CEO alone  or the Board alone, or the medicals alone but a team undertaking.

 Finally, the mission, the CEO and his team undertake is not their PERSONAL mission but JESUS’ mission.

Principles guiding the Healing Ministry

First, a compelling VISION and MISSION.

For mobilization of our church resources is to be on the right track. A compelling mission and vision must be set and embraced. Otherwise, the mobilizing will just turn into a zigzag and the source of another conflict and disunity in the ministry or in the church for that matter.

Visions are important for if there is no vision people will perish.

 Second, we should know and understand the nature of the institution through its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.

Why were we born?

Then we check our primary and secondary purposes to guide, plan, and development.

 By the way, Haran it has become a little bad word. But from the beginning it was a very beautiful word. It was conceived by Bishop Lorenzo Genotiva as a place just like in the Bible where our church workers, our members, as they journey they become tired and weary and there is a place where they go to rest and refresh and recharge. That was the original intention of Haran. The little Haran.

But the big Haran in acronym is HOME and ALTAR for RENEWAL ACTION and NURTURE. That is the meaning of Haran. Not the understanding that we have today.

We must not wait to fail. Right from the start, in mobilizing our church resources we must START RIGHT.

 Do you know that there was this big criticism why we went into a Tertiary Hospital?

The second criticism was, your community program is not the community program that evaluators recommended for Brokenshire to do.

Tertiary Hospital, teaching training hospital with five training programs in the medical department: surgery, family medicine, internal med, OB, and pediatrics.

There are sources that we need to go. Even the history.

 Third, involve others

 You know the story of that BIRTHING BED in Brokenshire? That birthing bed na doon ipinanganak yung first born ni Julius Babao and Tintin Bersola. The brand new is P2 Million plus. The company owner came and was starting to sell. As he was starting to sell, I was whispering prayers. I was not hypnotizing. I was whispering prayers. After the business talk, sabi niya are you going to buy because my flight is this afternoon?

Rev. Ruben Dela Cruz: I said, Mam we are very interested because that is a very high tech table that will be placed in our new established Woman Center. So, can we make the deal, monthly payment Mam? Yung amin pong bed dito P20,000, 25,000. Iyang pabili mo that is P2.5 Million.

Dealer: Ito na lang used. Yung ginamit ni ano (Tintin Bersola).

Rev. Ruben Dela Cruz:  Magkano naman yan Mam?

Dealer: P1.2 Million. Take it or I’ll go home.

Rev. Ruben Dela Cruz: Sabi ko, Mam, can you spend a minute? I will talk to you about Ministry. The Healing Ministry.  Siguro nagiging courteous lang siya kasi nasa office. And then she listened.  After the brief talk, she said: “Alright, you got me, the bed is yours!

The lesson that we got here is, for mobilizing our church resources to be meaningful and sustainable, we must ENGAGE, ENLIST, ENJOIN, and ENABLE others. We make the “I” and “MY” into “WE” and “OUR.” After all, we are a COMMUNITY. We are all stakeholders of this Jesus Ministry.

 Fourth, practice established process.

PROCESS management aside from PROGRAM management is very necessary.

We have BY PASSED processes in our eagerness or whatever to develop properties.

Guiding principles in mobilizing church resources

We must even take into consideration the history, the culture, and the dynamics of the local church, or the church as a whole.

What is the lesson? In mobilizing our church resource, the PROCESS is important as the PRODUCT. We are not only after the OUTCOME but the IMPACT more importantly the DEVELOPMENT of people and that they take part in these undertakings.

 Fifth, level off.

In Brokenshire we have developed ethical guidelines in how we should mobilize our resources. We establish policies and procedures. Because in the UCCP we are known that when there is no money, we pray. When the money is there already, we quarrel.

We create accountable forms as well as reports.

What I mean is that we must have DOCUMENTED SYSTEMS, POLICIES, AND PROCEDURES especially in our GENERATIONAL GAPS today.

Because you know, sometimes our policies are PANG SENIOR. What about the OTHER generations?” So, we develop policies, procedures, manuals, systems, whatever, because we should have all this so that we do not quarrel.

BROX concept and practice

Brokenshire Resource Oasis for Xervice.

We went high tech because technology is the name of the game.

Church resources are mobilized to support Christian mission NOT to ENLARGE, RESERVE FUND or TRUST FUND.” “Huwag PALAKIHAN.

 We mobilize church resources SOLELY to support and sustain the church ministries and building God’s kingdom. SHORT of supporting and sustaining the church ministries, it is PURELY PERSONAL GAIN.