Sixteen Filipinos participated in the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin, Germany in 1966. Two years later, 60 Filipino delegates attended the Asia-South Pacific Congress on Evangelism in Singapore. As a result of these two congresses, the National Fellowship for Evangelism (NAFE) was formed in 1969. NAFE sponsored the ten-day All-Philippine Congress on Evangelism.
Again, in 1966, church leaders from five mission groups working in the Philippines took part in the Church Growth Workshop in Indiana. This resulted in the implementation of the Church Growth Research in the Philippines project, the results of which were published in a book entitled Seeing the Church in the Philippines. This book was launched in 1970 during the first Church Growth Workshop in the Philippines organized by missionaries Dr. Jim Montgomery, Dr. Donald McGavran, Ebbie Smith and Leonard Tuggy.
Then in 1980, the movement known as DAWN 2000 (Discipline A Whole Nation) was born in the Philippines. During two DAWN congresses held in the cities of Baguio and Cebu, representatives from 81 evangelical denominations and Christian organizations committed themselves to the common vision of discipling the nation by planting a local church in each of the 42,000 barangays (communities or villages) by the year 2000. They expressly stated this commitment in a document known as the Congress '80 Covenant.
Five years later, at the DAWN National Church Growth Strategy Congress, the Philippines' DAWN 2000 Movement was formally organized. At the same time, church and mission leaders passed the Congress '85 Declaration which stated their renewed commitment to the entire church and to the world to share the Gospel and disciple the Philippines for Christ. In yet another DAWN Pastors' Congress held in 1986, the Ten Principles of Polity was adopted. This agreement enabled the participating bodies to better relate to one another so they could work together in the shared task of discipling the Philippines. Two years later, Congress Covenant '88 was signed by DAWN Congress participants. Also, the various denominations submitted their church growth campaigns as their contribution to the DAWN goal. Among them were the "1,000 by 1000" program of the Alliance of Bible Christian Communities in the Philippines, which called for an increase in the number of their churches from 230 in 1988 to 1,000 by the year 2000. Similarly, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines kicked of "Target 2-2-2," aimed at having two million believers worshipping in 20,000 churches by the year 2000. Right now, denominational goals have been revised according to present realities.
Another major outcome of the Philippines' DAWN 2000 Movement was the comprehensive national church survey conducted by Philippine Crusades from 1990 to 1993. It revealed that the Philippine Church has experienced significant growth since the 1970s. Biblical Christianity came to the Philippines in 1898. From that time until 1968, more than 5,000 churches were established. But by the end of 1991, there were approximately 23,000 churches. Of this number, 22% were planted between 1971 and 1980, while 54% were planted during the 1981-1990 period. In fact, the 13,500 churches that existed in 1985 grew to 23,400 by 1990.
At present, 60% of the existing villages in the country have yet to see a local church planted. With the projected increase in the number of barangays, there is a need to establish another 30,000 evangelical churches to fulfill the Philippines' DAWN 2000 goal.
PCEC's National Church Planting Program was created as a way of establishing valuable networks and support resources among the evangelical denominations, churches, and ministries. Among these are: partnership with major denominations and mission groups, network of Philippine evangelists with over 400 registered members nationwide, network of training institutions, network of ministerial fellowships in nine of the twelve regions in the Philippines, network of literature resources and medical programs for church planters, partnership with the far East Broadcasting Company which is the leading Christian radio station in the Philippines, and a training module for various church planting strategies. In addition, DAWN pastors' congresses are held regularly in order to discuss, evaluate and dialogue with leaders about church planting issues and concerns.
With only five more years before the beginning of the next century, we are believing God to grant a geometric growth of churches in the Philippines. However, we are not just concerned with statistics. We want to establish churches that have depth of spirituality, are mature, able to sustain themselves, and are showing the glory of God in the day-to-day affairs of life. And with the cooperative participation of the entire Christian community, where even the more traditional Baptists are able to work hand in hand with Pentecostals and the mainline Protestant denominations, we believe that the Philippines' DAWN 2000 goal is achievable.