Filipus is not a school. It's a family, a brotherhood committed to Christ, to each other and to a way of life.
Since the fourth century, Christians have been committing to intentional community and to a lifestyle of prayer, study and service. This “monastic” tradition had a significant beginning in central Turkey (Anatolia), and such men and woman were a blessing to their neighborhoods, their cities and even their nations. We join in their legacy by also committing ourselves to community, to God, and to a way of life.
That way of life is represented by the vows Filipus students take every year. These vows are lifelong commitments made to God and to one another. They clarify the significance of graduating the Filipus program and entering Christian ministry.
Will you commit to disciplined prayer for one another, for your church, for your people, and for the nations in the knowledge that prayer is an essential part of a life of dedication to God?
Understanding that ministry is a privilege from God, will you serve according to your gifts and calling in the work of making disciples of all nations, submitting yourself to the church and rejecting the temptations of pride and self-centeredness?
For the transformation of your heart and as an expression of loving God with all of your mind, will you study the Bible and commit to a life of study in fields which will support the call of the church?
Will you commit to being a blessing to the church, choosing a communal rather than an individualistic life, forgiving your brothers and sisters and living in peace with others?
Will you commit to a life of faithfulness to your leaders, to your church, and to the Lord?
Upon graduation, we give students rings instead of diplomas. We think that a diploma is a symbol of accomplishment, while a ring is a symbol of commitment. Students come to Filipus, not for a qualification, but to be equipped for a way of living and become a lifelong member of the Filipus brotherhood.
We believe it is the mission of God's church to make disciples, to reveal the goodness, the justice, the power, and the love of God to our neighbors, our cities, our nations and our world. It's our responsibility to represent Christ, and share his love in such a way that people are compelled to know and follow him.
Filipus teaches and lives out this vision, praying to see a missions movement born out of the Turkish church, one that reaches into the surrounding countries, Central Asia, and beyond.
We believe strongly that God works especially through the local church, and for that reason, Filipus students, during their training, are full members of Kurtuluş church, learning to serve, submit to leadership, exercise their gifts and live missionally all in the context of a church community.
Throughout the year Filipus students receive training and work at Coffee Haus, producing high-quality, fresh-roasted, gourmet coffee. By graduation, every student is a certified barista. Students experience and practice doing business as Christians, working as a unified team, creating an excellent product and selling that product with passion and integrity.
One afternoon a week, Filipus serves soup as a service to our neighborhood and an opportunity to know and be known in our community. Soup day is a unique environment where spiritual discussion and good questions are frequent.
One evening a week, cook up chicken and rice and pass out 200 meal packets to the homeless at Ankara's main bus station. It provides a touch point with the poorest of the poor, a chance to experience God's compassion for people and be a blessing in our city.
More that 50,000 refugees have flooded into Ankara from the nearby Syrian and Iraqi crises. Filipus, together with Kurtuluş church, serves more than 5,000 families in our weekly distribution program. We're teaching marketable skills and by creating opportunities for those who come to hear the good news.
Students spend 6 weeks all working at different churches or ministries around Turkey. Ministries around the country have come to count on Filipus students coming and interning for 6 weeks a year. It's both an opportunity for our students to be a blessing, to sow some of the vision they've gained while at Filipus into other ministries, and a chance for them to get practical experience, serve under another leader, and be a part of a different team.
It's our vision to see the Turkish church making disciples in Central Asia, the Middle East, and around the world. In order that Filipus students might catch God's heart for the nations and experience his goodness in a foreign place, every year Filipus spends one month abroad, partnering with God's church and sharing his good news.
Filipus was founded in 2003 at Kurtuluş Church in Ankara. Since then, more than fifty people from churches around the country have come, been equipped for ministry, and are now serving in various places throughout Turkey.
Since Filipus started we've prayed that God would send Filipus graduates as representatives of his Kingdom and of the Turkish church to the nations, especially Central Asia and the Middle East. In 2011 God began to answer that prayer, not by sending students, but by sending Filipus itself.
There are now Filipus programs in three Central Asian countries in addition to Turkey. These program run as ministries of their own local churches in consultation with us, implementing a training curriculum inspired by our curriculum in Ankara. Filipus has become an international network of Christian brotherhoods and training programs, opening doors for ministry between Turkey and Central Asia.
Out of 5000 Turkish Christians in Turkey Filipus gathers 5-10 of those every year, sent by their own churches, from diverse geographic, ethnic and theological backgrounds. They live together in an apartment building in downtown Ankara, serve in the context of the local church and become coffee professionals. It's a full-time, year-long, dedicated community and training program.
Filipus Kazakhstan is hosted by a church in Almaty. Students live in community and join in the life and ministries of the church. The program is divided into two modules. The first lasts 10 weeks, and focuses on classes in our five areas. The second is focused on cross-cultural ministry and includes an internship in another Central Asian country. Many of our students in Kazakhstan are students who have graduated from the church's rehabilitation program and are wanting to take the next steps in ministry.
Filipus in Kyrgyzstan operates in partnership with a growing number of local churches. Students live and study in community in a house near the center of Bishkek. During the week, Filipus students work to support ministries established by local churches and organizations including an orphanage, a homeless ministry, an evangelistic ministry, and several camp ministries. We are currently in the process of establishing a branch of Coffee Haus in Bishkek.
Operates in a country where security concerns make it difficult for us to share openly it's location details. Students are sent from a diverse network of churches for in-depth discipleship and ministry training. They are engaged in a number of local ministries including safe-houses for women at risk, state-run orphanages and rehabilitation centers and other local church ministries.
In addition to the locations listed above, we're currently in relationship with churches located in other Central Asian countries and are making efforts to open new Filipus programs with the aim of equipping more believers for a life of Christian ministry.
Our training is not simply an information download, but an intensive year-long program that fosters growth in three areas:
knowledge, experience and character.
The Filipus program includes eight months of classes in five areas:
In 2008 we wanted to find a practical way to be a concrete blessing to our neighborhood. We started by distributing chocolate cakes to all of the neighbors around the church. The positive reception from that effort lead us to invite our neighbors to the church on Tuesday for a bowl of soup. It went well, so we kept doing it, and now every Tuesday we serve around 100 people, many of whom are first time visitors to a church.
For many of our Muslim neighbors, stepping in the church would normally be unthinkable because for them, the church represents everything that is corrupt and wrong in the world. A bowl of soup is a practical way to remove that obstacle. People from all walks of life with all sorts of religious persuasions come to share a bowl of soup, to join a conversation, and to satisfy their curiosity for the gospel. These days, most of the people who get baptized at our church have their first exposure to the gospel at Soup Day.
In 2007, every Thursday, we started making trays of börek (Turkish pastry), wrapping them in foil packets and looking for homeless people downtown to hand them to. In 2011 we discovered that lots of homeless people were sleeping every night at Ankara's main bus station (AŞTİ), so instead of going downtown, with the help of short-term teams and interns, we started making a big pot of rice with chick peas and chicken and serving the homeless people at the bus station. We now serve 200 people every Thursday night, and at least a dozen of those people have become members of our church.
This ministry has received the most opposition from locals and authorities despite the fact that we do nothing besides hand our food. We remain committed to meeting the needs of the poor and hungry in our city.
In 2014 thousands of refugees began pouring into Turkey from Syria and Iraq. We spent a year praying about what our role should be in addressing this emerging crisis. We designed a software that would allow us register refugees for occasional food aid. We started with five people. Today we're serving more that 5500 refugees and their families. This ministry has taken a life of its own and has expanded to include clothing distribution, first aid, English classes, and a sowing project which teaches refugee women to make various products that we then sell as a way of providing a means of financial support for their families.
For more info check out:
Ankara Refugee Ministry (ankara-refugees.com)
In 2010 we recognized the need to give business training to our students as a part of their equipping for ministry, since many of them had no way to sustain themselves after graduating. We started selling roasted coffee from a company in Istanbul and earning a commission on sales. We were encouraged by the success of that effort, and in 2012 we agreed to buy the company that we'd been working with. Since then we've moved the company to downtown Ankara, grown the Coffee Haus brand, and have been committed to producing high quality, fresh roasted coffee for a Turkish market.
Our students now receive training in sales, coffee preparation and service, roasting, and business administration. They run a coffee shop at one of the embassies downtown, and every student graduates as a certified barista, enabling them to get a job in Turkey's emerging gourmet coffee industry. We intend to continue growing Coffee Haus, and as it grows, our capacity to equip students and offer a means for Turkish Christians to sustain themselves in ministry will increase as well.
Every Filipus student is assigned a mentor. At least once a week students are expected to meet face to face with their mentors, creating an opportunity for personal follow up and discipleship. Mentors help generate discussion and provide insight and encouragement around the lessons taught in class, the student's experience in ministry, their relationships in the Filipus community and their personal spiritual health.
At the end of the 8 month classroom portion, students are assigned to a 6 week internship in another Turkish city to support the work of a church or ministry there. Internships are an opportunity to put into practice the knowledge students have acquired during the first portion of the Filipus program. It's during this time that students discover how much they've grown and gain a broader perspective on the work of the church in Turkey. Also, submitting to another leader and working to support the vision of another church or ministry is an important part of their character formation. Students have served in internships in cities like Van, Diyarbakır, Kayseri, Adana, Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, and Çanakkale in diverse ministries such as evangelism, preaching, worship leading, practical service, camp ministries, local businesses, the Bible Society, Christian radio, and Christian TV stations.
We want to see the Turkish church taking seriously it's responsibility to the Great Commission, and we believe that the church in Turkey has an obligation and the means to make disciples in the nations. We want to see a Turkish mission movement. As part of that vision, we travel with our students outside of Turkey for the last four weeks of their training. For several years we invested in relationships and ministries in Egypt, and we're still seeing the fruit of that investment, but since 2011, we've been focusing on Central Asia, especially serving in places where other Filipus programs already exist, working to strengthen ties and build pathways of service between those programs. This year, for example, our students in Kyrgystan will serve in Azerbaijan, our students in Central Asia and Kazakhstan will serve in Kyrgystan, and our Turkish students will serve in at least two of those places. While abroad, students support the churches and different ministries that the local Filipus program is involved with, be it evangelism, prayer, homeless ministry, serving the poor or some other kind of practical service.
As important as classroom learning and practical ministry opportunities are in the equipping of a minister, it's the character of a minister that will determine whether or not those things will produce fruit. We believe that character is most naturally shaped in the context of community. Anyone can put their best foot forward from week to week in a church or classroom setting, but living together changes you. Filipus students live together at our community house with learning the discipline of forgiveness, reconciliation, generosity, patience, perseverance, humble service and brotherly love. At Filipus, we start every day in worship and prayer together. Students study together, serve together and engage in the daily routines of life together. Living in community students discover deep truths about themselves, and it's often the context for profound repentance and personal breakthrough.
Pazartesi 06.06.2016 21:14
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