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Beyond the Series: The Pains and Gains of Discipleship

Beyond the Series: The Pains and Gains of Discipleship

Helping someone in his or her walk with the Lord can be challenging but also rewarding. In this article, Pastor Joe Bonifacio encourages us to continue reaching out to people as he opens up about the pains and gains of discipleship.


The Pains in 4Es

Discipleship is not a walk in the park. There are pains associated with every part of the process, but these shouldn’t stop us from helping someone grow in faith and be empowered to lead. Here are some of the challenges as we engage, establish, equip, and empower someone.

ENGAGE: Whenever we try to engage someone with the gospel, the reality of being rejected is always there. The person we are trying to engage can always reject us or walk away from us, and that can hurt us or make us feel insecure.

ESTABLISH: Seeing believers struggle with pain or wrestle with biblical foundations can be painful. When a new believer’s passion wanes down or encounters trials, that person can get lost and won’t know what to do next. We know that this is normal, but watching someone struggle with sin is hard.

EQUIP: When we teach the people we are leading to be ready in doing the work of the ministry, a lot of times we have to help them see things from a biblical perspective. And that can be hard since they have their own mindset on how things are and should be.

EMPOWER: Empowering someone can be challenging and painful because we can’t always be there to help and guide them. A lot of times, the people we are empowering to lead doubt themselves and focus on the things they don’t know more than the things they are capable of doing.


The Rewards in Discipleship

While it is hard and can sometimes make us doubt ourselves or feel insecure, every opportunity is an opportunity to engage someone. And it’s never about us. It’s about God and how He is working in our lives.

When the first person I was leading walked away from God, I felt bad, rejected, and insecure. I felt I was a failure. But God dealt with my heart and made me realize that what I did was not for me but for Him.

Sometimes, the people we journey with walk away from us, but that doesn’t mean God would stop working in their lives. The time we spent and the seeds we planted were never put to waste because God could always use other people to continue the work that He started in that person’s life. That, in itself, is rewarding.

God made me realize that my goal is to see the people I’m leading have a deeper relationship with Him. Even if years from now I see them in a different group or attending a different location, as long as they are walking and growing with God, I will be grateful.

Discipleship is about seeing the other person flourish in his walk with God. Not being hurt or rejected is never the goal. The pains shouldn’t stop us from reaching out and sharing the good and amazing things that God is doing in our lives.


Pastor Joseph Bonifacio is the director of Every Nation Campus in the Philippines and also serves as a campus director and lead pastor in Victory Katipunan. He is happily married to Carla “Rica” Peralejo-Bonifacio, and they have two sons, Philip and Manu. Together, they are committed to reaching, training, and teaching the next generation.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Put Courage

Put Courage

“Encouragement doesn’t need a lot of sentiment or a special occasion. And it’s never a wrong time.”

In this blog post, Every Nation Campus Philippines executive director Joseph Bonifacio shares about the value of encouragement, and its effects on the people with whom we share appreciation. Read more in this post entitled, “Put Courage”.

Living Bridges

Living Bridges

“What lasting legacy will be left by my life?” In this blog entry, Pastor Joseph Bonifacio gives his
insights on living a life that will impact the next generation.

Disciple Like a Parent

Disciple Like a Parent

“There is no joy like the joy of seeing someone you’ve served and sacrificed for growing up and walking in their purpose.”

In this blog entry, Pastor Joseph Bonifacio shares Biblical insights on how discipleship is a lot like raising children.

Accountability is Sought

Accountability is Sought

“How you respond to correction tells us a lot about you.”

Every Nation Campus Executive Director Pastor Joseph Bonifacio encourages us to seek accountability from others, especially in our words and actions. Check out his blog post here!

Honoring God in Your Campus

Honoring God in Your Campus

One of the things I love about our movement is how invested we are in reaching the campuses. We believe that, as we change the campus, we have the potential to change the world.

Among the many reasons indicated in our campus manifesto about why we need to reach the campus is that the future leaders of nations and industries will be coming from the campuses. The values the students learn and adopt in their campuses will eventually go into their work, affecting our society, our public policy, media and education.

This is also why it’s so important for our students to honor God in the campus. For some of their classmates, professors and friends, our students’ lives and the way they live are these people’s first peek at God’s love and faithfulness.

Which brings us to the question: how do we honor God in the campuses?

Honoring God begins with honoring the one He has sent—Jesus, the God-Man Himself. On our own, we cannot possibly live lives that are honoring to God. We’re too selfish, petty, and small-minded. But when we put our faith in what Jesus did on the Cross, we are transformed. Our hearts are cleansed from sin and our lives now honor Him.

Our students must then be so deeply rooted in the Word and prayer that they are able to establish their convictions and rely on God’s grace to stand by them.

As they study and learn in school, they also have to keep an eye on what they say and don’t say, and what they do and don’t do.  As Rachel Ong, one of our speakers at Ignite 2015, preached to the students, they need to walk in moral excellence if they want to change their campus and make an impact on the world.

Students can also honor God through the three objectives Pastor Ferdie Cabiling enumerated during Ignite 2015. They can:

  • Strive for positions or functions of servant-leadership. These are avenues where they can lead their classmates either in their classes or even in extra-curricular activities.
  • Work for academic excellence. This, too, is a testament of God’s grace and faithfulness in their lives. This can serve as a platform where they can preach the gospel.
  • Operate with compassion. They, themselves, are missionaries in their campuses. They are there to show God’s love to other people, to reach out to their classmates and to preach the gospel.

We are all called to honor God in the different aspects of our lives and in whatever sector of society God has placed us. We cannot underestimate the potential of our students to set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity within their campuses and in the world.


Joseph Bonifacio serves as the executive director of Every Nation Campus Philippines. He is married to Carla and is a dad to Philip.

What Your Mentors Say (About You)

What Your Mentors Say (About You)

“You can tell a lot about a person by who they choose to listen to. It tells you if they’re really looking for wisdom or just someone to agree with them.”

Learn helpful guidelines in selecting the right kinds of mentors in this blog post by Pastor Joseph Bonifacio, Executive Director of Every Nation Campus.

Who do you love first?

Who do you love first?

“The right kind of love will enhance and strengthen the other loves in the right order. My love for God fuels my love for my wife, which strengthens my love for my son, with so much left over for my family and friends, making me love and give my best at work.”

In this blog entry, Pastor Joseph Bonifacio writes a thoughtful blog entry brought about by an Instagram image posted by his wife, Carla, that elicited an interesting reply from one of her followers.

Putting in your 10,000 hours

Putting in your 10,000 hours

“Everyone knows that we must work hard to succeed. But is any kind of work sufficient? Obviously not. Then, what kind of work do we need to get there?”

In this blog entry, Pastor Joseph Bonifacio discusses Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of 10,000 hours in the latter’s book, Outliers, and how it produces extraordinary talent and skill.

Earn your stars

Earn your stars

“I think I have to earn my stars every day.” – General William Pagonis

Pastor Joseph Bonifacio shares some insights on “Moving Mountains,” the account of Lt. General Pagonis, who was head of logistics in the first Gulf War in 1990. Pagonis “saw leadership and promotion not as a status to attain or office to occupy, but as an opportunity to serve,” and Pastor Joseph shares some key insights in this blog entry.

Why we do Youth Camps

Why we do Youth Camps

Bad food, late nights, crazy games, friendships established, encounters with God—it’s youth camp season again. All over the Philippines, our campus ministries are utilizing the summer season to hold these pivotal events that seal the previous school year and jumpstart the next one. Here are some reasons why they’re so important:

Youth camps are always action-packed!

1. Strong Relationships

Whether it’s a camp that’s open to all or specifically focused on the leaders of the campus ministry, one major upside are the relationships developed by the end. There’s just something about staying in the same place, going through those embarrassing games, and worshiping God together that brings young people together.

People who used to feel out of place in the youth service now come alive. Teenagers who were brought reluctantly by their parents leave the camp feeling quite at home. It isn’t uncommon to see people exchanging contact information, writing each other dedications on their notebooks, and promising to meet up soon – even though they’ll see each other within a few days in Manila. Childish sentimentalism? Maybe. Useful for ministry? You bet.

Whether a student joins the camp alone or with friends, at the end of the day he/she will surely go back home with even more friends.

2. Encounters with God

This is a no-brainer, but it should be mentioned anyway. I’m not saying we can’t encounter God anywhere else but there’s something about being out of your usual habit, being in nature, and worshipping God that seems to break through the usual noise of every day life.

I remember being 16 years old, singing a worship song when I suddenly felt a compulsion to get on my knees and cry out to God for the nations. I think I knew then that I would be doing this for the rest of my life. Many people in the Bible, in history, and in our movement have received their calling in similar encounters with God. Church kids who saw Victory as “my parents’ church” now see it as “my church” because of their encounter with God.

Young people falling on their knees as they encounter God in one of their sessions.


3. Faith Building

Camps cost money and one must walk the fine balance of helping out when possible but also encouraging the students to believe God for provision. Many students work, sell, save, and ask to raise the money. In fact, seeing God provide is like the opening salvo to a powerful encounter with God.

Dan Monterde, our campus director and youth pastor in Metro East, had one such encounter. He was new in church and wasn’t sure if he could make it to the camp. He thought, “Pangmayaman lang yan,” until a random church member went up to him and gave him money for registration saying God had led him to do so. That was a powerful lesson for Dan that God was his Father and this Father’s resources were unlimited. There are so many more stories like that and it compounds even more as these recipients of generosity gratefully pass on what they received to another generation.

Joining a youth camp costs. But the experience is priceless.


4. Leadership Development

Running a camp is hard! Securing the venue must be done months in advance—it has to be nearby, affordable, securable, and conducive to all the events. Planning it can be a fruit-testing process because you have to deal with students who change their minds, parents with weird special requests, money concerns, weather changes, bus drivers who are uncooperative, health precautions, etc. And this is all a great time to develop new leaders.

For many student leaders, running a camp is a time when they can get a taste of real campus ministry. We will not shrink back from asking the students to carry heavy loads of responsibility because a.) we really need the help (at least honest), b.) this will propel them to greater maturity, and c.) God has promised to pour out His spirit on them so they can do it!

These students are the future leaders of our nation!

5. Vision for their Campus

No matter the specific purpose of the camp, when you combine the above elements you have a recipe for a passionate campus ministry ready to make disciples in the coming school year. Pastor Ferdie Cabiling used to have us go outside the meeting hall in Caliraya and lie down on the (wet) grass looking up at the stars. He said, “That’s how many people you can disciple, just like God promised Abraham.”

Maybe it’s the “mountain-top experience” where people come from the mountain to go back to the world. Or maybe it’s the company of brothers and sisters encouraging each other that we can go and reach our campuses for Jesus. Or maybe it’s because the stars are just brighter outside of Manila. For whatever reason, when these students have that powerful time with God in the camps they go back to their homes and schools ready to advance God’s kingdom there.

We’re now ready to change our campus!


Joseph Bonifacio is the Executive Director of Every Nation Campus, a nationwide campus organization passionate about preparing students for LIFE. He also serves as a volunteer pastor in Victory Fort Bonifacio.