Birth Pangs – The First Three Years
It all started with seven students passionately and consistently praying at the library of UP Los Banos – all for one thing – revival. The group, then known as the Students for Christ, quickly swelled into a 300-strong org of leaders out of their desire to change the nation for Jesus. Still fired up with the extraordinary move of God in Laguna, Senior Pastors Carlo and Zhaleen Panlilio, part of the pioneering troupe in Los Banos, desired to bring the same fire to the National Capital. The story of Destiny Church begins. Destiny held services in different locations in its first few years — at the Manor Hotel at Kamias Road, King’s Court, Chicken Bacolod – QC Circle, and Camelot Hotel. A common sight during its early years were the few but highly passionate and deeply committed leaders largely coming from the UP-Diliman community. Really just a cell at that time, it nevertheless influenced the university’s Christian community. Its 15 or so students started rolling the works for the student organization that would later become a changing force in UP Diliman.
2001 – The Birth of SOD
The Students of Destiny, popularly known as UP-SOD in its home campus in Diliman, in its commencement service saw a group of young people responding to the high call of “the 7-point commitment,” which was sort of a war cry of the student arm. They were keen to adopt the groundbreaking UPLB ministry’s culture. Daily, early-morning prayer meetings at the Carillon Tower base were set in motion, as in the days of Pastors Carlo and Zhaleen as students at one wing of UPLB’s Main Library where they would gather and intercede for the whole campus. Soon a door to far-reaching ministry was unlocked through the launching of a weekly meeting, aptly called Lessons and Insights For Everyone (LIFE).
2002 – The Pioneer Cell Leaders
Discipleship was off and running at the turn of the year. Our pastors aimed not to accumulate church members but to raise up a generation of leaders. They started with a few and did not miss the mark. The first fruits of the couple’s ministry were Ricardo Sacman, Dan Orcullo, Louvenna Mallari, Diane Ponce and Jill Anne Boyonas. What an exigent first year it was for the pioneers! The student org experienced hopping from one LIFE meeting venue to another as it continued to expand its reach within the university. The youth service was first held at the University Hotel and later transferred to David Room at the UP Bahay ng Alumni.
2003 – Winds of Change
In its road map to growth, Destiny Ministries International set up a semi-permanent post when its leaders decided to rent office and activity space in the 2 nd floor of AVECCS Building at Kamias corner Kalayaan Roads. With the desire and need to strengthen its ministry, the longest-running series of services, LIFE Meetings, and Encounter God Retreats (EGRs) were first held starting August. This proved to be a strategic physical move as the church’s administration and activities found their hub. The spokes started to work in place afterwards, as UP-SOD sporadically grew in the U-Belt area and UP Manila. Halfway into its finest years (2009 and early 2010 so far), things in and about this church were just being set into motion.
2004 – G12, A New Beginning
There are no accidents. That was the founding principle for Destiny Ministries International (hence the name). When Pastor Ricardo Santiago who came from the origin country (Colombia) and church of the G12 vision spoke in a G12 vision introductory conference in the Philippines, Pastor Carlo went and heard him. In hindsight, the next moments became crucial to our leaders and ministry as embracing the vision involved intense divine wisdom-seeking and tough decision-making. Our pastors eventually leaped in faith. Pastor Carlo invited Pastor Santiago to preach at Destiny which, by the way, was the latter’s first ever preaching in Manila. That marked the church’s new beginning as a G12 church. 2005 – Ignited in the Vision More divine appointments took place. Pastor Rich Witmer, one of Pastor Santiago’s 12, came over our country to help establish our pastors in the vision. Today, he disciples our pastors and regularly pays Destiny church a visit. The Government of Twelve (G12) was born through a vision that God gave Pastor Cesar Castellanos of International Charismatic Mission in Bogota, Colombia. In its unveiling, Pastor Castellanos’ church experienced unprecedented growth in the last few years, making them the second largest Christian church worldwide. Rather than seeing it as a man-made concept, the vision was actually a revelation of how Jesus’ great commission works. It was basically enabling leaders to reproduce the character of Jesus in their lives and other people’s. The four biblical principles of winning a new person, consolidating him to keep him in Christ, discipling him so that he can be sent to extend the good news of salvation to other souls consisted the vision’s structure. And so the atmosphere in the church changed. Church people had to know corporately what they were all about in order to do it. To become more far-reaching, February became filled with romance and rhythm as Destiny introduced its post-valentine back-to-back concert and talk, the R&R. With the emergence of young professionals among the flock, the NytLyf was formatted to cater to their needs. Destiny was winning souls after souls for Jesus. And it had just ignited the engine.
2006 – “Greater Works”
Living up to its theme, the ministry started implementing the Encounter and the Ladder of Success to the letter. Destiny did it like Bogota and expansion was its first fruit. High school cells were established in San Francisco High School and Quezon City High School. God never forgoes a promise. The dream of raising up a generation of leaders had come to life.
2007 – “Ready for the Multitudes”
Increase became evident not only in the church’s population but in its excellent passion to win souls and make disciples. Leaders became wide-ranging, planting cells in schools, universities, offices and communities around the metropolis. Destiny had also begun establishing contacts with churches all over the Philippines. Also the birth year of the National G12 Conference held at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, more destinies were intertwined as Pastor Cesar Castellanos, the visionary behind the G12 vision, came over to minister and commissioned 12 pastors and wives to reproduce Christ’s character each in 12 more people. Thus, the goal of forming a strong team of national 12 and 144 was made.
2008 – “Unstoppable”
Stepping on the brakes lost its spot on the leaders’ checklist. From the launching of the Week of Fire, where Pastors Carlo and Zhaleen’s 12 were announced and commissioned to form their own G12 team, the vision was not maimed; the fire, untamed
2009 – “Year of Fruitfulness”
EsTuTurno! Fruitfulness had truly captivated Destiny as it held those conferences successfully, bringing in more people who had been captivated by the Destiny-Giver Himself. With 2010 touted as the year of acceleration, Destiny Manila is in a drum roll of reaching goals more audacious than ever before. Cells are being opened and people are being won in magnitudes higher than the last years. After 12 years, 12 goals, 12 milestones, Destiny Manila is off and running and it is not turning back. It is keeping its path straight as it takes everyone up the next level, dashing through the motion that only God can orchestrate and perfectly execute. The vision to win souls and make disciples of all genders, social hierarchies, ages and races is in perfect momentum. We are running the race only in the speed limit of our Destiny-Giver: Infinity. To date, Destiny Church – Manila continues to grow and expand. With 2012 declared as year of Expansion, the church has now grown with over a thousand people attending its three Sunday Services in the UP Film Institute in UP Diliman. By the end of the year, we see ourselves, growing to 5000 strong people in the sunday services and in the LIFE Groups. It’s youth arm, Students of Destiny (SOD) also continues to multiply, leaving great impact in campuses. Early 2012 when SOD spearheaded a night in the annual UP Fair which they called KontraKultura: A Date with Destiny. This became a historic night being the first Chirstian night in the history of UP fair, gathering prominent Christian artists led by Gary Valenicano. The Destiny Professionals likewise strengthened this year. With its weekly Acoustic Night LIFE sessions, they continue to win professionals and executives in the business and career arena. Destiny Manila also fervently shares the vision to different areas in the country. The Destiny pastors hasve been regularly mentoring pastors from Baguio City, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, General Santos, Davao, and more. Looking back in March 2009, the first satellite church in Mindanao was successfully established. The church practically multiplied itself in the country’s southern region. With the quality of vision and leadership inheritance, this event has set the atmosphere that church planting and expansion knows no boundaries. With this, two new satellite churches in Tabaco City, Bicol and in Pangasinan are now being honed and harnessed. Continuous multiplication is happening in these two satellite churches with Pastor Sheina Onrubia for Tabaco City. From Manila to Indonesia – Jogjakarta, Bali, and Mandela – the three key areas in Indonesian territory where Destiny Church – Manila also began extending its helping arm. Committed to help and disciple, Destiny has been pursuing to equip Indonesian pastors to bring their countrymen to the Lord. It is a vision to connect to the pastors so that transformation and expansion will also be realized in the islands. Indeed, fourteen years is not enough. Fourteen more years will not be enough to live for the glory of our God. And yet we are a sign of greater things to come. This is the part of our story that has been so far