Sadiri Joy Tira

Executive Director, Filipino International Network

Senior Associate, Diaspora Study Group, Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization





The mission of the Church is to make healthy disciples of Jesus Christ of ¡§all nations.¡¨  Many nations are scattered or dispersed around the globe and the Church of Jesus Christ must thrive among these Diaspora people.  This Kangaroo Church Birthing and Reproduction model is a natural and healthy way of discipling and church birthing among Diaspora people.  While it is written as a proposed working strategy paper to the First Filipino Alliance Church (FFAC) in Edmonton for church birthing among new Canadians, it is the writer¡¦s hope that the concepts learned from the Kangaroo¡¦s birthing and reproduction will be transferable to other congregations who have the intention of thriving among Diaspora people. 

It is important to provide definition of several key terms and state the assumptions at the outset.  Discussions on the nature and mission of the Church and basis for church birthing and reproduction will be brief.  It is assumed that the reader has a good understanding of ecclesiology. It is also assumed that the reader is familiar with classic church ¡§planting¡¨ or birthing theories and practice (e.g. pioneering model, mother-daughter church birthing). 

Terms are defined as follows:





            In church birthing and reproduction, it is vital to consider three determinants: biblical basis, congregation-specific parameters; and contextual factors.  These three elements are briefly discussed in relation to FFAC.


2.1. Biblical Basis


Jesus Christ gave his followers the command to ¡§go and make disciples¡Kof all nations¡¨ (Matthew 28:18-20).  The blueprint for the achievement of this commission is outlined in the book of Acts where evangelism and church birthing in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7), Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-9), and the ends of the earth (Acts 10-28).  Biblical models of church birthing and reproduction are found throughout Acts and the Epistles.  It is evident in the New Testament that congregations of believers were born wherever Paul stayed and preached the gospel.  This pattern should continue to fulfill Christ¡¦s statement ¡§I will build my Church.¡¨  Filipino followers of Jesus Christ scattered outside their homeland are invited to help build their Master¡¦s Church. 


2.2. Congregation-Specific Parameters


The guidelines of church birthing and reproduction for FFAC include the following considerations:


2.3 Contextual Factors:  Filipinos in the Canadian Landscape


Canada is a nation of immigrants.  Despite its bitter winters, Canada has been attracting thousands of immigrants every year. The Filipinos are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in Canada. The Philippines has been a top source of immigrants for the past three decades. Older statistics printed by the Library of Parliament, between 1964-1978, report a total of 65,203 immigrants arriving from the Philippines (Gatner, 1979).  This figure doubled in the 1980s and 1990s when Canada opened its borders to more immigrant people.  From 2000 to 2003, the Philippines were ranked as the fourth top source country for new immigrants topped by China, India, and Pakistan. Charts in Appendix Exhibit 1 indicate that the Philippines are still a major source of recent immigrants, now termed ¡§permanent residents¡¨ by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  In 2004 and 2005 the Philippines rose in rank to third top source country for ¡§permanent residents.¡¨  In only three years, between 2004 and 2005, Canada welcomed 30,828 immigrants from the Philippines (see Appendix Exhibit 1: Facts and Figures 2005

Immigration Overview: Permanent Residents).  By 2001, there were close to 327,545 people of Filipino heritage living in Canada with nearly half of those in Ontario 165,025, 69,000 British Columbia and 36,000 in Alberta (Ryerson University, Diversity Watch). ¡§There are now close to 400,000 Filipinos in Canada,¡¨ according to the Philippine Consul General in Edmonton.  Filipinos are distributed in major urban centers such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton.  According to Statistics Canada, ¡§the Filipino population, estimated at 309,000 in the 2001 Census, [will] grow to around 540,000 by 2017¡¨ (Statistics Canada, Study: Canada's visible minority population in 2017).

It must be noted that unlike many other Canadian visible minority groups, the majority of the Filipino-Canadian community was born outside of Canada.  Furthermore, according to Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) the Filipinos in Canada are relatively young, with ¡§only 6% of their total population was 65 and over¡¨.  In terms of education, Filipinos are highly educated with approximately 31% of those 15 years and over having a bachelor¡¦s degree or higher (HRSDC). When it comes to their involvement in the Canadian workforce, they had the ¡§highest participation rate and the lowest unemployment rate among all visible minority¡¨ groups (HRSDC).  It is key to note, however, that despite their high level of education, ¡§the proportion of Filipinos in Professional occupations (12%) was below that observed for both the nonvisible minority population and the overall visible minority population¡¨ and in 2000 ¡§they had the second lowest average income among all visible minority subgroups for full-time, full-year employment¡¨ (HRSDC). 

Other significant observations are that most Filipinos speak English and unlike the Chinese and the Indians, Filipinos do not tend to cluster in ethnic ¡§ghettos.¡¨  There are many religions represented in the Philippines, however it is predominantly Christian with 82.9% being Roman Catholic and 5.4% identified as Protestant (Government of the Philippines).  Most Filipinos who migrate to Canada are Roman Catholic.  The Filipino-Canadian community has produced its own media and Filipino associations can be found in every major city. 

According to the Philippine Consul General for Edmonton and Alberta North, there are approximately 22,000 ethnic Filipinos in Metro Edmonton.  Most of them reside in Castledowns, Clairview, and Millwoods (phone interview with the Hon. Consul General Esmerelda Agbulos, June 6, 2007).  The Filipino Community in Edmonton, like others across Canada, has formed its own cultural associations, communication networks, business establishments, and congregations.  The community comes together to celebrate the Philippine Independence Day and gathers during traditional religious and Filipino holidays.  

Many of the Filipinos in Edmonton are medical professionals.  There is also a large number working as civil servants in government offices.  In the past decade thousands of Filipinos have moved to Edmonton as ¡§Domestic Care Workers¡¨ and after completing their contracts many of them opted to apply as ¡§landed immigrants.¡¨  A result has been the mass influx of their spouses and children. 

Canada is also accepting more temporary residents.  This trend is evident in Edmonton. The rapid economic growth in Alberta has recently drawn thousands of temporary international workers such as sales clerks and fast-food chain workers.  Also the University of Alberta and Edmonton¡¦s subsidiary post-secondary schools are a magnet that draws many Filipino scholars to the city. 

Immigration continues to increase in Edmonton as the oil industry in northern Alberta booms and as the rapid Canadian economic growth continues to attract immigrants and workers from the Philippines. 




In the Bible we find references to the animal world, or animal typology used as examples to reveal truths and principles.  We read about mammals, birds, insects, and fish, etc.  Specifically, we read about the lion, the dog, the serpent, the eagle, the fish, the ants, the sheep, etc.  We do not read about the kangaroo.  However, for FFAC the kangaroo has been used to describe its church birth and development (see Tira DMin. dissertation, Reformed Theological Seminary, 2002).  The ¡§Kangaroo Model¡¨ is used to describe the process by which FFAC was ¡§born¡¨ and nurtured, but it is not articulated as a church birth or church growth process.  This is now an attempt to articulate the Kangaroo Model in the context of church birthing and reproduction.


3.1. Lessons from the Kangaroo


Kangaroo birthing and reproduction is unique.  Kangaroos have short pregnancies. The kangaroo young, called a joey is tiny.  After it is born the tiny joey crawls up into the mother's belly and into her pouch. The joey immediately attaches itself to the teats and stays attached until it grows and is able to take brief trips out of the mother¡¦s pouch, going out and looking for food, and returning to the pouch between expeditions. The joey stays in the mother¡¦s pouch for up to nine months unless unfavourable conditions arise. If the joey is not fully weaned it can continue poke its head into the pouch to nurse for up to eighteen months after its permanent release and launch from the pouch. 

Kangaroos can simultaneously have three joeys at different stages of development.  The oldest joey can be more mature and just emerged from the pouch, another developing still inside the pouch, and the youngest one, still an embryo ¡§frozen¡¨ in development until its turn to move up into the mother¡¦s pouch. There are four teats in the pouch and each teat provides different milk compositions and nutrients for the different stages of development respective to each joey.  In favourable conditions (i.e. availability food) most kangaroos can breed all year round continually developing and releasing joeys.

Local churches like FFAC can learn many lessons from Kangaroo life.  There are outstanding principles in church multiplication that I would like to underscore (for more information about kangaroos see http://www.exn.ca/Stories/1999/04/14/51.asp).


Permanent Pregnancy Continuous Reproduction


A healthy local congregation should always be pregnant, but must also be aware of favourable conditions and the best time to launch a joey.  Many denominations and local churches birth daughter churches without considering the health of the daughter church.  Hence, many are unable to sustain their many daughter congregations.  Is this not infanticide in ¡§church planting¡¨ movement?  Unlike in the kangaroo model, the mother kangaroo makes sure that the current joey in her pouch is ready to jump out and the conditions for her offspring¡¦s survival are optimum, before allowing the younger sibling, still an embryo, to move along into the pouch.   The point is that a healthy local church should always be pregnant and be planning to launch a new congregation. 


Age-Specific Milk


It is also important to note that the mother kangaroo can simultaneously produce milk for her joeys at different developmental stage.  Why is this observation important for multiplication of the local church?  Food is a biblical analogy for nourishment and sustenance, for example, the Word of God is equated with ¡§milk¡¨, ¡§bread¡¨, ¡§honey¡¨, ¡§solid food¡¨.  We have the food or nourishment, the Word of God, but we have to serve it at the right age, and a newborn congregation can only drink milk and not eat barbecue.  In the kangaroo model, the mother kangaroo can provide a different milk compositions (e.g. training manuals, doctrinal material, and other literature in printed and electronic formats, etc.) to both joeys based on their differing developmental needs. It is significant for the mother congregation to identify spiritual food that is specific to the developmental stage of each ¡§joey¡¨ congregation. 


Healthy Partnership Between Mother Kangaroo And Joey


Once the joey is able to leave the pouch and survive, it continues to nurse from its mother for another 18 months.  After this, the joey, now self-sustaining, and mother continue in a close relationship. 




First Filipino Alliance Church was conceived and born using the ¡§Kangaroo Church Birthing Model.¡¨  In FFAC¡¦s case, Millbourne Alliance Church (MAC), a local congregation composed mainly of Anglo-Germanic Canadians, took the initiative to start a new immigrant daughter congregation by forming within its structure an ethnic sub-congregation.  FFAC remained integrated with MAC until it was ready to ¡§jump out of the pouch.¡¨ After four years of being integrated in with MAC, the Filipinos were ready, and they became a fully self-governing, self-propagating, and self-supporting congregation.  For further details on FFAC¡¦s history see Appendix Exhibit 2:  Ricky Mapa article ¡V Mortgage Burning.


4.1 Strategic Plan for FFAC Daughter Church


This church-birthing plan is composed of three stages:  pregnancy, preparation, and partnership.


4.1.1.  Pregnancy:  Always in Season


Christ said ¡§I will build my Church¡K¡¨  (Matthew 16:18).  This is a declarative statement by the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.  Therefore, the local congregation has been provided with all that is spiritually required to reproduce.  Furthermore, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20 cf. Acts 1:8) is a mandate given to the Church.  A healthy local congregation has everything required to multiply and reproduce.  All she must do is be obedient to the Jesus Christ and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.  There is no reason then that a healthy local congregation cannot be continuously ¡§pregnant.¡¨  Therefore, church birthing is ¡§always in season¡¨ (Starr, 1978). 

FFAC has reached a certain level of maturity in its 23 years of existence.  They have already reproduced and trained leaders who have in turn become Kingdom-servants.  The congregation has also become a catalyst in the area of national and international missions; such as in the case of the formation and development of Filipino International Network (FIN) and the Conference of Filipino Alliance Ministries in Canada (Exhibit 3:  Stuart Lightbody article ¡V Ripple Effect).  FFAC, however, has not yet launched a daughter congregation.

FFAC had already envisioned a daughter congregation as early as 1993.  Not having enough resources to sustain a daughter congregation, FFAC partnered with the denomination (i.e. CandMA) in launching a ministry ¡§home church¡¨ and outreach to another non-Filipino new-Canadians group.  However, FFAC felt it had to wait for more resources to initiate its own ¡§daughter congregation.¡¨  The reason then was that FFAC did not have the finances.  This perceived hindrance to launching a daughter congregation should not have been.  According to Scoggins and Patterson, ¡§money is a myth¡¨ in church multiplication and reproduction.  Money should not be a reason for waiting to release ¡§an embryo¡¨ into the Joey phase.  To avoid the same mistake of ¡§freezing¡¨ embryos in their development, FFAC must change its philosophical approach to church birthing and reproduction.  As Scoggins and Patterson points out, ¡§church multiplication¡¨ and reproduction is the ¡§purposeful¡¨ and ¡§voluntary¡¨ action that occurs when a local church ¡§gives birth to, and nurtures, daughter churches or cells¡¨ by ¡§[relying] on God¡¦s power¡¨ (Patterson and Scoggins, 2002, 17).

The pregnancy is generally brief in the kangaroo model.  Biologists note that in favourable conditions, the mother kangaroo keeps an embryo in the birth canal for only about thirty days (depending on the kangaroo family).  This proposed strategy is not suggesting that the pregnancy be limited to thirty days.  The point is that the pregnancy stage must be brief ¡V always with the purpose of moving the embryo along to the pouch, which is the location for most of the offspring¡¦s nurturing and training. 

If a kangaroo is healthy and the conditions are favourable she will naturally reproduce.  A healthy congregation is also like this ¡V birthing and reproduction being a natural outcome of her health.  Members of a healthy congregation worship together, are devoted to studying the Word, to fellowship with one another, and they are bold in their outreach to those still outside the Kingdom (see Acts 2:42-47). If the birthing of a daughter congregation is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, and the mother congregation is obedient to the Great Commission and devoted to the vital qualities of the New Testament church mentioned above, then the launching is simply the commissioning of a group of healthy members to carry on the ministry of Jesus to a different people group (e.g. different time, location, or culture, etc.).  If these New Testament church qualities are demonstrated at FFAC, the birthing of a daughter congregation will be a natural outcome.


4.1.2  Preparation:  Preparing Joey to Launch


Institutional procedures are to be followed for Joey¡¦s launching to receive blessings and support.



Step 1:  Intentional Prayer


Assuming that FFAC is a healthy congregation and they are praying for ministry opportunities, particularly church birthing and reproduction opportunities, it is important to be focused in their prayer.  The church staff, the Board of Elders, and the rest of the leadership team should be engaged in prayer for direction and identification of a core group that would form Joey as well as the target area.  Everyone associated with FFAC should seek and depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they prepare to launch a daughter congregation. 


Step 2:  Identify Joey ¡V Who will make up FFAC¡¦s Joey?


 FFAC¡¦s joey will be composed of FAT disciples of Jesus.  These are disciples who are faithful, accountable, and teachable.  They are passionate and courageous soldiers of the Cross and are compassionate messengers of the gospel.  These are the main criteria of FFAC¡¦s Joey.  Their geographical network is also to be taken into consideration. 

This core group will be the subject of intensive training and nurture before they are launched out of FFAC¡¦s pouch.  They will be trained to take on roles as elders, deacons, deaconesses and other leadership roles.  They will be taught how to be hospitable, how to lead Bible studies, how to administer the sacraments, church management and financial stewardship, and evangelistic discipleship skills, etc.  They will be the subject of one-on-one mentorship by the more mature members and leaders of FFAC, particularly by the pastors or elders. 


Step 3:  Identify Joey¡¦s area of ministry


David Hesselgrave provides helpful demographic research tools for surveying a Target Area.  It includes:

a.       Analysis of Target Area and People

b.      Geographical Profile

c.       Population Profile

d.      Economic Profile

e.       Sociologic Profile

f.        Religious Profile


A FFAC research team should conduct research using these tools.  Findings should be reported to the FFAC leadership, and ultimately to the congregation.  The Board of Elders and the Senior Pastor must take the lead in casting the vision of church birth and reproduction.  They should lead with optimism and enthusiasm as they present the vision and strategies to the congregation.  They should visit the membership in their homes, invite them for informal meetings, and intentionally visit their small groups.  Visiting the members builds consensus and ensures the unity of the body.


Step 4:  Denominational Partnership


In the case of FFAC, denominational partnership is very important.   FFAC must advise the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada (CandMA¡XCanada) and secure the denominational support.  Ultimately Joey¡¦s final launch would be in partnership with the denomination.  Joey¡¦s pastors would have to be accredited and licensed by the CandMA.  Any eventual property that Joey acquires would have to be endorsed by the CandMA.  It is also important that the Western Canadian District resource Joey¡¦s development.  This may include financial subsidy if necessary and prayer support from other CandMA congregations.   

With Joey now prepared to journey outside of the mother¡¦s pouch, she is launched and the sibling who has been waiting and developing in the mother¡¦s birth canal can move up into the pouch and the cycle to prepare a new joey can begin again.


4.2  Partnership:  Parenting Joey


In the kangaroo world, the mother and her joeys remain in relationship for years after their launch from the pouch.  For a couple of years after launching the joey will still nurse from its mother.  The mother kangaroo produces age-specific milk for the launched joey as well as the joey still contained in her pouch.  Once the joey is self-sustaining and able to survive as an adult kangaroo it remains in contact with its mother often traveling with her in their kangaroo mob. 

Often times in a ¡§church planting¡¨ initiative a daughter congregation is considered a ¡§renter¡¨ and not actually a daughter.  There is no relationship beyond ¡§paying the rent¡¨ and maintaining the facility.  Apart from providing a venue, ¡§mother¡¨ congregations often leave the young ¡§daughter¡¨ to her own means.  Also, so-called mother-daughter congregations often fight over the use of the kitchen, Sunday school rooms and parking lots, causing an unhealthy relationship between them.  Furthermore, once the daughter congregation is finished ¡§renting¡¨ and has ¡§moved out¡¨ the two congregations separate for good.  Collectivism is disregarded and autonomy is emphasized at the sacrifice of healthy interdependence.  This promotes a utilitarian attitude and is unhealthy in the family of God.

In church life, it is important that the mother congregation always be supportive and remain of assistance even after the daughter has launched out on her own as a self-sustaining, self-propagating, and self-governing congregation. It is important to maintain family ties by meeting for regular celebrations (e.g. Christmas, Easter, church anniversaries, prayer gatherings, and occasional picnics).  There will be a time when the mother congregation may become weak and sick; this is a time when the daughter or congregation can come along side of their mother.  This ongoing relationship among churches is a truly biblical value, such was demonstrated by the first century New Testament churches.   




It seems the time is right to release a core group from FFAC to be Joey in the north side.  FFAC is a healthy local congregation and it has identified a core group to minister in the target area of north side Edmonton.


5.1 Favourable Conditions


Over the years FFAC¡¦s eyes have been set on Edmonton¡¦s north side.  It is obvious that this part of Edmonton is growing because of the oil boom.  Many new homes are being built.  Small businesses are cropping up and new infrastructure is being laid out to accommodate the growth.  Edmonton¡¦s north side is definitely one of the fastest expanding areas.   Therefore, it is important that a local congregation be strategically positioned to address the spiritual needs of the growing community.  This local congregation must be ready to become a harbour for those who are drifting away, and a refuge for those who are hurting and are in need.

According to John, Jesus said: "Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'?  I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest" (4:35).  I believe that Castledowns and Clairview districts in Edmonton¡¦s north side are ripe for harvest.  I suggest in this paper that this will be Joey¡¦s area of ministry.

As early as 1993 FFAC¡¦s former Board of Elders dreamed of launching a daughter congregation in that part of the city.  However, this dream was not fulfilled because of a perceived need for ¡§more finances.¡¨  They also did not have people living in the north side except for one family.  It has only been in the recent years that some families have moved and bought their homes in the target area.  Is this providential?


5.2. God¡¦s Sovereignty and Providence


It is significant to recognize God¡¦s sovereignty and His unseen hand working in FFAC¡¦s history.   First, consider the conversion and joining of the Caviltes-Martinez clan.  In October 2004, the pastoral team visited Dante Caviltes who was diagnosed to have a terminal cancer.  The pastoral team ministered to him and his family while he was immobile.  In the course of four months the pastoral team conducted home and hospital bible studies with him, his wife, his children, and members of his extended family.  This clan is composed of more than sixty adults and children.  A week before Dante Caviltes passed away in February 2005, FFAC pastors gathered the entire family for a worship service at the Glenrose Hospital where he was confined.  The hospital administration graciously availed their facility for the Caviltes-Martinez clan and accompanying members of FFAC who joined for this service.  During this service, almost all members of the Caviltes-Martinez clan heard the gospel presentation and prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour.  Several months after Dante¡¦s death another service was organized in a north side school where Danny Martines (Dante¡¦s brother-in-law) works.  Close to 100 people came for the service.  Today, Dante¡¦s widow, Evelyn Caviltes, his sister Mila and her husband Danny Martinez are members of FFAC and are very much involved in various ministries.  Occasionally their young adult children and their relatives come to FFAC worship services.  There is a need to follow up and disciple this Caviltes-Martinez clan.  Could it be that this clan will join the core once Joey has been released from FFAC¡¦s pouch?

Consider also that although money should not be a determining factor in launching a daughter congregation, it is providential that FFAC is now mortgage-free (since April 2006).  The additional finances now available could be of further assistance to FFAC¡¦s Joey.  Though the limited finances in previous years kept FFAC from launching a daughter congregation, this limitation is no longer a hindrance or a roadblock that would keep some members from embracing a daughter church birth initiative.

Furthermore, FFAC has recently received into membership a seasoned Baptist pastor and his wife.  Their joining FFAC is also providential, because they are now living in the north side and can provide spiritual leadership should Joey be released to the north.  This is hypothetical but should be pursued by the leadership.



5.3. FFAC¡¦s Joey:  Potential core group


At the time of this writing, the possible Joey of FFAC is composed of nine families.  This group is composed of 18 adults, 8 youth, and 7 children.  Their network of friends and relatives exceeds a conservative number of 150 people.  All these families live in Edmonton¡¦s north side.  Jesus said to pray for workers because ¡§the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few¡¨ (Matthew 9:37).  Could it be that these families listed are the answer to prayer and FFAC¡¦s potential first Joey?


5.4. Research and Proposal      


A FFAC research team should conduct comprehensive study and prepare a proposal for a scheduled congregational meeting. The FFAC Annual Membership Meeting is where and when the leadership can present their directional agenda and strategies to achieve their goals.  This is when the church membership will vote on the annual budget.  If the launching of Joey is to be realized the congregation must adopt and endorse this plan at a FFAC congregational meeting. 


5.5. Denominational Involvement


Results of the FFAC research team¡¦s findings should be given to the Western Canadian District.  Pending and following approval of the congregation, the pastoral team must work closely with the district leadership, particularly with district ¡§church-planting coach¡¨. 


5.6. Journeying with Joey


If and when Joey is launched to Edmonton north, FFAC must do all she can to assist in facilitating its health and growth.  This could mean assisting financially, this could mean providing logistics, staff development, etc.  It certainly means providing prayer support and moral support (i.e. celebrating with the daughter congregation at reached milestones, and mourning with her in difficult times). 

Finally, if FFAC remains healthy, she should remain pregnant like a kangaroo, continually reproducing healthy joeys.  She may contain a joey in her pouch for longer than usual and simultaneously freeze an embryo¡¦s development if unfavourable circumstances arise, but this should be a temporary restraint.  Her goal is not only for the survival of her local ministry, but ultimately for the fulfillment of the mission of the Church, thus being obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, God in his sovereignty brought Filipinos to Canada.  Some have come to know the Lord here, while others were nurtured overseas and in their homeland.  The Filipino scattering around the world seems to be divinely ordained.  Followers of Jesus Christ are to bloom where they are planted and for FFAC that means reproducing and growing in Edmonton, but also extending their ministries beyond the walls of our facilities and ¡§backyards.¡¨  They are to be Christ¡¦s witnesses in their own Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).  Filipino-Canadian churches must be inter-generational, inter-cultural, and inter-racial in our ministries.  The next joey may not necessarily be another ethnic Filipino congregation, but it can become a multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-generational congregation.  Ultimately the goal of launching Joey, and producing more joeys is to glorify God by making healthy followers of Jesus Christ.  This is the very purpose of FFAC¡¦s existence.    

I hope that the church birthing principles in this paper and the recommendations will be implemented by FFAC and the CandMA in Canada (Western Canadian District).  God willing, Joey will be launched in the near future. 






Agoncillo, Teodoro A.  History of the Filipino People, 8th ed.  Quezon City, Philippines:  Garotech Publishing, 1990.


Gatner, Joseph.  Filipino Canadians.  Ottawa, Canada:  Research Branch, Library of Parliament, 1979.


Hesselgrave, David J.  Planting Churches Cross-Culturally:  North America and Beyond, 2nd ed.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, 2000.


Malphurs, Aubrey.  Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century.  Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1992. 


Neumann, Mikel.  Home Groups for Urban Cultures.  Pasadena, CA:  William Carey Library, 1999.


Pantoja Jr., Luis, Sadiri Joy Tira, and Enoch Wan, eds.  Scattered: The Filipino Global Presence.  Manila, Philippines:  Life Change Publishing, Inc., 2004


Patterson, George and Richard Scoggins.  Church Multiplication Guide: Helping Churches to Reproduce Locally and Abroad. Pasadena, CA:  William Carey Library, 1993.


Rhodes, Stephen A.  Where the Nations Meet:  The Church in a Multicultural World.  Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1998.


Schwartz, Christian A.  Natural Church Development:  A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy churches.  Carol Stream, IL:  ChurchSmart, 1996. 


Starr, Timothy.  Church Planting: Always in Season. Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada, 1978.


Tira, Sadiri.  Global Missions and Local Congregation:  A Case Study of the First Filipino Alliance Church in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).  Jackson, MS:  Reformed Theological Seminary, 2002.


Websites consulted and cited


Citizenship and Immigration Canada ¡V Facts and Figures 2005

Immigration Overview:  Permanent Residents


Accessed June 9, 2007


Discovery Channel ¡V Animals ¡V The animal that can be 'sort-of' pregnant

By Tamar Simon, April 14, 1999


Accessed June 9, 2007


Human Resources and Social Development Canada ¡V A Profile of Filipinos in Canada


Accessed June 9, 2007


Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines ¡V General Information


Accessed June 14, 2007.


Ryerson University, Diversity Watch ¡V Group Backgrounds ¡V Filipinos http://www.diversitywatch.ryerson.ca/backgrounds/filipino.htm

Researched by Theresa Laurico

Accessed June 9, 2007


Statistics Canada ¡V Study: Canada's visible minority population in 2017, March 22, 2005


Accessed June 9, 2007




Exhibit 1:  Facts and Figures 2005 Immigration Overview:  Permanent Residents



Exhibit 2:  Ricky Mapa article ¡V Mortgage Burning


Exhibit 3:  Stuart Lightbody article ¡V Ripple Effect


Exhibit 4:  Hesselgrave tool ¡V Surveying a Target Area



Exhibit 1:  Facts and Figures 2005 Immigration Overview:  Permanent Residents






Exhibit 2:  Ricky Mapa article ¡V Mortgage Burning


g-local FFAC: A Church with a Local and Global Impact

by rpm


Celebrating God¡¦s Faithfulness has never been sweeter until the First Filipino Alliance Church (FFAC) celebrated their 16th anniversary in October, the highlight of which is the mortgage burning ceremony. FFAC joins the ranks of the very few Filipino churches in Canada that have a fully paid facility. Their building in Forest Heights (formerly St. Stephen¡¦s United Church) is a tangible proof that nothing is impossible with God.

Back in 1983, an unlikely group composed of a disabled housewife, a young couple and a bunch of university students dared to pray: ¡§If it is Your will Lord, start a church for Filipinos in Edmonton.¡¨ A year later, they called Rev. Joy Tira, with the help of Millbourne Alliance Church, to pastor what was then the Filipino Christian Alliance Fellowship. In 1989, they bought their first building in Meadowlark practically debt free and became a government registered church with its current name.

Little did we know that what seemed like an impossible prayer request, God would answer way beyond our wildest dreams. Here¡¦s a local church turned glocal (you read it right, G-L-O-C-A-L) ¡V ministering locally and reaching globally.

FFAC is a city church serving not only Filipinos but other nationalities as well. In his October 22, 2005 article, Don Retson of the Edmonton Journal wrote that FFAC is ¡§a lighthouse for newcomers.¡¨ Besides helping new immigrants and new Canadians settle in or sponsor their loved ones into the country, its pastoral team reaches out to Sudanese, East Africans and folks from other world religions.  It gets involved in inner-city ministries like Hope Mission and Mustard Seed by helping serve hot meals for the homeless.

Built right into the church¡¦s DNA are prayer and missions. FFAC became the catalyst to start a Filipino church-planting movement for the Christian and Missionary Alliance across this dominion. A veritable factory producing pastors and missionaries, some of its members are now pastoring churches in major Canadian cities while others are serving as missionaries in countries where Christians are forced to go underground. FFAC is also the nerve center of the Filipino International Network (FIN) which partners with like-minded churches worldwide by developing and mobilizing Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) to share their faith with citizens of their host countries and facilitates access to theological training for bivocational pastors.

Over the years, several members have served on many short-term missions trips in various countries in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia or even right next door in Vancouver¡¦s inner-city. This coming January, more than 20 FFACers form the Mindoro medical-dental missions team, its second in as many years, the first one having been held in Gerona, Tarlac. Through this relief work, impoverished people like the Mangyan Tribe are provided with the basic necessities like a clean water supply, clothing, medicine and dental care. Above all, they are introduced to the greatest doctor ¡V Jesus Christ. That gives FFACers and the people we reach something to smile about.

Now that¡¦s good news ¡V free from the mortgage burden, the Lord willing, we hope to grow our staff to make sure now and future generations will continue this living legacy with its unchanging mission in the city and worldwide: Introducing people to Jesus Christ and helping them become His healthy followers ¡V all for the glory of God.

Curious? Connect with us and it would be our privilege to pray for your needs or share why we¡¦re excited that life works. We celebrate God¡¦s faithfulness everyday and together on Sundays at 10:30am. The gathering place is 10115-79Street (the first intersection east of Gretzky Drive, north on 79). Call us at 468-1743 or check us out on the web, www.ffaconline.org ¡V Be our guest and meet new friends!



The author, Rev. Ricky P. Mapa, has been serving as Senior Pastor at First Filipino Alliance Church (FFAC) since January 2006. This article was written for a local newspaper in October 2005.  At the time this article was released he was on staff as Senior Associate Pastor for FFAC. Rev. Mapa is a graduate of the Canadian Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity); Memorial University of Newfoundland (Bachelor of Computer Science); ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada, and former Senior Pastor for nine years of the Filipino Christian Alliance Fellowship in Vancouver, BC.



Exhibit 3:  Stuart Lightbody article ¡V Ripple Effect


The Ripple Effect


For many decades, Canada has attracted the Filipino people.  From the 1960¡¦s to the present day, the Philippines has been a major source of immigrants, normally ranking in the top five originating countries of Canadian immigrants.  Indeed, there are now more than 300,000 Filipinos living across Canada, primarily in the major urban areas of Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal.


The Filipinos do not follow the pattern of other immigrant groups.  They speak English well, many are professional and well educated and they do not tend to cluster in ethnic ghettos, as do other groups.  Additionally, most are practicing Roman Catholics.


In the early 1980¡¦s a small group of Filipino students and graduates of the University of Alberta in Edmonton met for prayer and bible study in a small townhouse in the Mitchener Park at the University¡¦s housing complex for married couples.  For the handful of evangelical Filipinos it was enough that they could gather and celebrate the joy of the Lord with each other.  There was no thought of birthing a congregation or extending any kind of ministry beyond the comfort zone of their own fellowship.  It was enough for them that there were some fellow believers in the Edmonton Filipino community of more than 2,000.


Joy Tira was a Filipino seminary student and interning at Millbourne Alliance Church.  At an outreach event he met with the Mitchener Park group to help in the bible studies and was soon helping lead the bible studies as well as handling a Sunday School class at Millbourne for some of the Filipino families.  A summer ending event in 1983 saw nearly 100 Filipinos of various religious persuasions attend.


Joy returned to school at Canadian Theological Seminary but God had planted a seed with visions of the first-ever Filipino Alliance church in Canada.


With the strong support of the Western Canadian District Superintendent at that time, Harvey Town, a series of meetings between the Millbourne church, the district and the Filipino families led to the birthing of a Filipino congregation within the mother church, Millbourne.  Filipino Christian Alliance Fellowship was born.


But, exciting as that was for the Filipinos in Edmonton, God was not finished.


Over the next number of years, the fellowship flourished as Joy Tira was recruited to lead them and by 1989 they were an independent congregation.  They purchased their own land, built their own facility and renamed themselves First Filipino Alliance Church.


From the start, missionary and evangelism zeal permeated the church, particularly as they contemplated the burgeoning Filipino community in Edmonton.  They organized a team to participate in the All-Filipino Basketball League; they organized community-wide events from prayer breakfasts to seminars for newcomers.  Steady growth was highlighted by continuous grounding in evangelism, discipleship and outreach.


But the church not only impacted the Edmonton Filipino community.  It has had a ripple effect across Canada and around the world.


The current leader of the Conference of Filipino Alliance Ministries (CFAM) in Canada, Rev. Charlie Mance, readily acknowledges the vision, drive and leadership provided by the First Filipino Alliance Church in Edmonton.


Joy and the church, he said, provided inspirational leadership and were the driving force behind Filipino Alliance churches, ministries, mission efforts and outreach over the last 15 years.  There are now 14 churches associated with CFAM with another one in the birthing process and yet another organized congregation outside the Alliance that is seriously considering moving into the denomination.


It has produced leaders: at least 4 pastors and 8 missionaries.  To the glory of God, many of our Filipino missionaries are serving in Creative Access Countries that we call Desert Sands, Asian Spice or Silk Road.


From its earliest stages of growth, First Filipino¡¦s goal was to be a sending church, whether across Canada or around the world.  Along with those directly connected with the CandMA, the church has also provided personnel for other Christian ministries including Campus Crusade, Samaritan¡¦s Purse, Operation Mobilization among others.  Many church people have also participated in various forms of short-term missions.


The church was also a major catalyst in the creation of a global movement amongst the Filipino Diaspora around the world.  The Filipino International Network (FIN) is now led by Joy Tira with a set mandate to reach Filipinos for Christ and, through them, reach other people groups.  Originally dubbed Operation Trojan Horse, it was recognition that the warmth and friendliness of the Filipino people added to the fact that Filipinos are able to work and live in many so-called closed countries was an ideal evangelism opportunity ¡V particularly in the Middle East.


It began in the mid 90¡¦s with the strategy of mobilizing prayer and fellowship amongst Filipino Christians in the Middle East followed by showing and distributing the Jesus film throughout the region.


Since then FIN has grown to an international, interdenominational movement.  It is creative in its efforts to reach the Filipino people.  It is equally creative and aggressive in its efforts to use the embedded Filipino populations as ¡§missionaries¡¨ in the midst of difficult or hard to reach people and faith groups.


From that small pebble tossed into an Edmonton sea, the ripples engendered by First Filipino Alliance Church have touched every corner of Canada and now lap the edges of nations and peoples in every corner of the globe.


(This article was written by Dr. Stuart Lightbody, Vice-President - Canadian Ministries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada).

Exhibit 4:  Hesselgrave tool ¡V Surveying a Target Area


FFAC Joey¡¦s Potential Area of Ministry

(Adopted from Hesselgrave)


Community Profile Survey Sheet



Section A --- Maps

(all maps taken from Google Maps)



Note: These maps show the proposed geographical area where Joey will be concentrating her ministry: Castledowns and Clairview (Edmonton City)












Section B --- Geographical Profile


Description of the Land

  1. Rolling Hills................................ %
  2. Plains ........................................ %
  3. Rivers and Streams..................... %
  4. Mountains.................................. %
  5. Forests....................................... %

Land Use

  1. Farming...................................... %
  2. Ranching.................................... %
  3. Lumber...................................... %
  4. Commercial................................ %
  5. Residential ................................. %
  6. Parkland ................................... %
  7. Unused...................................... %


  1. Railroad
  2. Roads
  3. Airports
  4. Rivers


  1. Private Homes............................ %
  2. Apartment Blocks...................... %
  3. Public Facilities ( Schools, Hospitals,
    Community Halls)....................... %






Section C --- Population Profile


1.      Population in 1980 _____, 1990______, 2000 _______

2.      Present Population _________

3.      Density (number of persons per square mile) ________

4.      Population growth or decline 1980-2000: Growth _____%, Decline ______%

5.      Population projections for 2005 _____, 2010______, 2015______, 2020 ______


Analysis ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Section D --- Economic Profile



1.      Farming or Ranching..................... %

2.      Business and Clerical.................... %

3.      Education..................................... %

4.      Industrial...................................... %

5.      Government and Military.............. %

6.      Medical/Dental............................. %

7.      Others.......................................... %

Gross Income

1.      Less than X.................................. %

2.      Between X and Y......................... %

3.      More than Y................................ %


Analysis ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Section E ---Sociological Profile


Ethnic Groupings

1............................................................ %

2............................................................ %

3............................................................ %

4............................................................ %

5............................................................ %

Classes, Castes, Clans

1............................................................ %

2............................................................ %

3............................................................ %

Age Groupings

  1. Under 18................................... %
  2. Between 19-35.......................... %
  3. Between 36 -50......................... %
  4. Between 50 -65......................... %
  5. Over 65..................................... %


Analysis ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Section F --- Religious Profiles


Christian Population

  1. Roman Catholics........................ %
  2. Anglicans................................... %
  3. Lutherans................................... %
  4. United........................................ %
  5. Evangelicals................................ %
  6. Others........................................ %


1.      Muslims.................................... %

2.      Hindu........................................ %

3.      Sheik........................................ %

4.      Buddhist.................................... %

5.      Jewish....................................... %

6.      Cultic Groups............................ %

7.      Unaffiliated................................ %

Identify locations and numbers of:

       Church Buildings _________, Temples ___________, Synagogues _____________





Overall Analysis



Rating Chart for Church-birthing Priority







Geographical profile



Population profile



Economic profile



Sociological profile



Religious profile






Total score







1. Compare the overall profiles of potential target communities.

2. Rate each on scale of 1 to 10 ( 1 = lowest rating; 10 = highest rating). Rating is relative and communities must be compared to each other.

3. Priority: the highest total score # 1, next highest # 2.


Prayerful considerations and evaluation on the basis of rating system where Joey¡¦s outreach priority.


Note: Data gathered from the survey showing urbanization and industrialization will determine the kind of people who will eventually live in the communities. The demographic profiles will ascertain the ethnic, socio-economic, educational and religious background of the population. The map will indicate zoning and location of buildings and places where people of the congregate. Ultimately the information will be an aid for outreach and ministry strategists.



Published in the ¡§Featured Articles¡¨ of July 2007, www.globalmissiology.org