The newly opened Muntinlupa Outreach of the Alabang Chapter credits its post-breakfast “kapihan” for its enthusiastic attendees, both first timers and white card holders. Since its launching last September 3, 2011, breakfasts have been held twice a month, every 2nd and 4th Saturday, at the Palms Country Club, Filinvest Center, with a consistent average of 45 attendees per breakfast including an average of 6 first timers per meeting. To date they now have 14 white card holders and five candidates for white cards.
Bob Corrales, Mission/Outreach Coordinator of BCBP Alabang, explains that instead of using the “kapihan” (as described in the 2009 revised edition of the Breakfast Guidelines) as preparation for organizing the more formal BCBP breakfast, “we integrated it as a post-regular breakfast strategy to strengthen our bond with, and to better acquaint the 2nd and 3rd timers and white card holders with the BCBP culture and way of life. Immediately after the regular breakfast, we have a semi-formal meeting for 15 to 20 minutes to explain further about the BCBP, complete with a short ppt presentation.”
Aside from the breakfast and post-breakfast sessions, the mission team holds informal smaller group and short meetings over cocktails, lunch or dinner with those 1st, 2nd, and 3rd timers who live and/or work near each other. These meetings are unstructured and foster sharing of experiences and strengthening of relationships of the attendees with each other on one hand and the attendees and the mission team on the other hand. This bonding encourages the new attendees to continue attending future breakfasts since they are already familiar with each other and the members of the mission team and therefore no longer feel alone or out of place.
“In many instances before, we noticed that first timers discontinued attending breakfasts because there was a very limited explanation of the BCBP from the member who invited him and a similarly very limited acceptance of these discussions by the invitee,” Corrales says. “Attending breakfast once or twice is usually not enough to convince him to join the community. Relationships based on our BCBP culture have to be developed gradually on top of the normal friendship… and this is what our mission team focuses on – initiating and nourishing strong friendships.” Smiling, he adds, “In some cases, it is these invitees who have attended these informal meetings who even invite their friends to come to the BCBP breakfast, thereby creating a multiplier effect. Some of them even volunteer to help in the registration and/or join the music ministry!”
The BCBP breakfast with its unique sharing by a member of his walk with Christ in his marketplace is the entry level for membership. It is easy to invite someone once but the bigger challenge is how to influence an invitee to attend more breakfasts. Corrales believes that with their experience in Muntinlupa, the post-breakfast “kapihan” is the better way to ‘grow’ 1st timers into regular breakfast goers and subsequently into full membership in the BCBP.
He observes, “The environment is changing very fast. There are many lay and similar organizations like BCBP who are evangelizing the marketplace. There are many advocacies which even interrelate with our mission and vision. Even parishes are more and more active nowadays. To meet today’s challenges of evangelizing the marketplace we need to develop and fine tune different approaches by using not only our proven practices but to also think out of the box. Straight line is not always the shortest distance between two points,” Corrales believes as he cites their successful unique ‘kapihan’ experience.