Church planting was never part of Pastor Ben’s plan, until in March 2020 during the start of COVID was when Ben believed his call to plant a church began. Ben received a phone call from a Filipino pastor whom he never met before and invited him to join with other Filipino pastors in their leadership and discipleship classes. After a few months of joining, they challenged Ben to pray if God might be leading him to plant a Filipino church in the surrounding communities of Antioch, Brentwood, and Oakley. God stirred Ben’s heart to answer the call to plant a church and serve as an effective witness to the Filipino community and to other minority groups.
In October 2020, Ben and Hilda, together with their Bible study core group (8 families and 2 individuals) began meeting and praying as they pursued this calling that God has given them, and to please God above all. From November-December 2020, Ben went through pre-assessment process with Converge PacWest. In January 2021, Ben and Hilda met with Pastor Phil Ward of Golden Hills Community Church to share what God placed in their hearts and their plans to start a Fil-Am church. Pastor Phil Ward gave his blessing for Ben and Hilda to proceed with the Converge Church Assessment. In June 2021, Hilda and Ben went through the Church Planting assessment in Wisconsin and were given “full recommendation ready now” to plant a church under Converge.
On August 8, 2021, Forever Community Church held its first pre-launch service in Ben and Hilda’s backyard and about 45 people showed up. Then on October 17, 2021, Forever Community Church was lauched at the Antioch Water Park hall. Over 160 people came, many of whom are friends and families from all over the Bay area.
Ben firmly believes the purpose of planting a Fil-am church is to glorify God by making more disciples of Jesus Christ in our community. Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him (God) who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.