An increase in the supply of houses, or anything else, almost always drives prices down, while restricting the supply of real estate keeps prices high. A great deal of evidence links the supply of space with the cost of real estate. Price increases in gentrifying older areas will be muted because of new construction. Growth, not height restrictions and a fixed building stock, keeps space affordable and ensures that poorer people and less profitable firms can stay and help a thriving city remain successful and diverse.
I n , in response to the outcry over the razing of the original Pennsylvania Station, which was beautiful and much beloved, Mayor Robert Wagner established the Landmarks Preservation Commission. In , despite vigorous opposition from the real-estate industry, the commission became permanent. Initially, this seemed like a small sop to preservationists. Yet, like entropy, the reach of governmental agencies often expands over time, so that a mild, almost symbolic group can come to influence vast swaths of a city. By the end of , the commission had jurisdiction over 27, landmarked buildings and historic districts.
One team showed the Jesus film to a great response. The building became a rallying cry for the enemies of height, who wanted to see a little more sun. Jim Harries. That prayer rooms be available for night workers. First, cities should replace the lengthy and uncertain permitting processes now in place with a simple system of fees.
Tom Wolfe, who has written brilliantly about the caprices of both New York City and the real-estate industry, wrote a 3,word op-ed in The New York Times warning the landmarks commission against approving the project. From the preservationist perspective, building up in one area reduces the pressure to take down other, older buildings. One could quite plausibly argue that if members of the landmarks commission have decided that a building can be razed, then they should demand that its replacement be as tall as possible. The cost of restricting development is that protected areas have become more expensive and more exclusive.
In , people who lived in historic districts in Manhattan were on average almost 74 percent wealthier than people who lived outside such areas. Almost three-quarters of the adults living in historic districts had college degrees, as opposed to 54 percent outside them. People living in historic districts were 20 percent more likely to be white. The well-heeled historic-district denizens who persuade the landmarks commission to prohibit taller structures have become the urban equivalent of those restrictive suburbanites who want to mandate five-acre lot sizes to keep out the riffraff.
Again, the basic economics of housing prices are pretty simple—supply and demand. New York and Mumbai and London all face increasing demand for their housing, but how that demand affects prices depends on supply. Building enough homes eases the impact of rising demand and makes cities more affordable. In the post-war boom years between and , Manhattan issued permits for an average of more than 11, new housing units each year.
Fewer new homes meant higher prices; between and , the median price of a Manhattan housing unit increased by percent in constant dollars. The other key factor in housing economics is the cost of building a home. That low cost explains why Atlanta and Dallas and Houston are able to supply so much new housing at low prices, and why so many Americans have ended up buying affordable homes in those places.
Building up is more costly, especially when elevators start getting involved. And erecting a skyscraper in New York City involves additional costs site preparation, legal fees, a fancy architect that can push the price even higher. Just as the cost of a big factory can be covered by a sufficiently large production run, the cost of site preparation and a hotshot architect can be covered by building up. The land costs something, but in a story building with one 1,square-foot unit per floor, each unit is using only 30 square feet of Manhattan—less than a thousandth of an acre.
At those heights, the land costs become pretty small. Yet you can buy a beautiful condominium with a lake view for roughly half the cost of a similar unit in Manhattan. The forest of cranes along Lake Michigan keeps Chicago affordable. Most people who fight to stop a new development think of themselves as heroes, not villains. The problem is that all those independent decisions to prohibit construction add up. Zoning rules, air rights, height restrictions, and landmarks boards together form a web of regulation that has made building more and more difficult. The increasing wave of regulations was, until the Bloomberg administration, making New York shorter.
But less than 40 percent of the buildings put up in the s were that tall. The growth in housing supply determines not only prices but the number of people in a city. The statistical relationship between new building and population growth within a given area is almost perfect, so that when an area increases its housing stock by 1 percent, its population rises by almost exactly that proportion. As a result, when New York or Boston or Paris restricts construction, its population will be smaller.
If the restrictions become strong enough, then a city can even lose population, despite rising demand, as wealthier, smaller families replace poorer, larger ones. Yet my neighborhood looked nothing like low-rise Greenwich Village. I grew up surrounded by white glazed towers built after World War II to provide affordable housing for middle-income people like my parents.
The neighborhood may not have been as charming as Greenwich Village, but it had plenty of fun restaurants, quirky stores, and even-quirkier pedestrians. The streets were reasonably safe. It was certainly a functioning, vibrant urban space, albeit one with plenty of skyscrapers. W hen Baron Haussmann thoroughly rebuilt Paris in the midth century at the behest of Napoleon III, he did things unthinkable in a more democratic age: He evicted vast numbers of the poor, turning their homes into the wide boulevards that made Paris monumental.
He lopped off a good chunk of the Luxembourg Gardens to create city streets. He spent 2. All of that spending and upheaval turned Paris from an ancient and somewhat dilapidated city of great poverty into an urban resort for the growing haute bourgeoisie. He also made Paris a bit taller, boosting the Bourbon-era height limit on buildings from 54 feet to 62 feet. Two years later, Les Halles, a popular open-air marketplace, was wiped away and the futuristic Centre Pompidou museum was begun. But these changes rankled those Parisians who had gotten used to a static city.
The Montparnasse Tower was widely loathed, and the lesson drawn was that skyscrapers must never again mar central Paris. Les Halles was sorely missed, in much the same way that many New Yorkers mourned the demise of the old Penn Station. In , a height limit of 83 feet was imposed in central Paris. But while these rules restricted height in old Paris, they let buildings grow on the periphery. It has about 35 million square feet of commercial space and the feel of an American office park. Except for the distant view of the Arc, administrative assistants drinking lattes in a Starbucks there could easily be in a bigger version of Crystal City, Virginia.
In some senses, it is an inspired solution. The sector enables Paris to grow, while keeping the old city pristine. The natural thing is to have tall buildings in the center, where demand is greatest, not on the edge. Average people are barred from living in central Paris just as surely as if the city had put up a gate and said that no middle-income people can enter. Keep the core areas historic, but let millions of square feet be built nearby.
As long as building in the high-rise district is sufficiently unfettered, then that area provides a safety valve for the region as a whole. Paris, however, is an extreme case. In much of the rest of the world, the argument for restricting development is far weaker.
And nowhere have limits on development done more harm than in the Indian mega-city of Mumbai. The problems caused by arbitrarily restricting height in the developing world are far more serious, because they handicap the metropolises that help turn desperately poor nations into middle-income countries. Since poverty often means death in the developing world, and since restricting city growth ensures more poverty, it is not hyperbole to say that land-use planning in India can be a matter of life and death.
Mumbai is a city of astonishing human energy and entrepreneurship, from the high reaches of finance and film to the jam-packed spaces of the Dharavi slum. All of this private talent deserves a public sector that performs the core tasks of city government—like providing sewers and safe water—without overreaching and overregulating. One curse of the developing world is that governments take on too much and fail at their main responsibilities.
A country that cannot provide clean water for its citizens should not be in the business of regulating film dialogue. The public failures in Mumbai are as obvious as the private successes. There is a train that could speed your trip, but few Westerners have the courage to brave its crowds during rush hour.
In , more than three people each working day were pushed out of that train to their death. Average commute times in Mumbai are roughly 50 minutes each way, which is about double the average American commute. The most cost-effective means of opening up overcrowded city streets would be to follow Singapore and charge more for their use. If you give something away free, people will use too much of it.
After all, Singapore was not wealthy in , when it started charging drivers for using downtown streets. Like Singapore, Mumbai could just require people to buy paper day licenses to drive downtown, and require them to show those licenses in their windows. Politics, however, and not technology, would make this strategy difficult.
In , Mumbai fixed a maximum floor-to-area ratio of 1. In those years, India still had a lingering enthusiasm for regulation, and limiting building heights seemed to offer a way to limit urban growth. Businesspeople work close to one another and can easily trot to a meeting. Hong Kong is even more vertical and even friendlier to pedestrians, who can walk in air-conditioned skywalks from skyscraper to skyscraper.
It takes only a few minutes to get around Wall Street or Midtown Manhattan. Even vast Tokyo can be traversed largely on foot. These great cities function because their height enables a huge number of people to work, and sometimes live, on a tiny sliver of land. But Mumbai is short, so everyone sits in traffic and pays dearly for space. A city of 20 million people occupying a tiny landmass could be housed in corridors of skyscrapers. Yet instead of encouraging compact development, Mumbai is pushing people out.
Only six buildings in Mumbai rise above feet, and three of them were built last year, with more on the way as some of the height restrictions have been slightly eased, especially outside the traditional downtown. But the continuing power of these requirements explains why many of the new skyscrapers are surrounded by substantial green space. This traps tall buildings in splendid isolation, so that cars, rather than feet, are still needed to get around.
If Mumbai wants to promote affordability and ease congestion, it should make developers use their land area to the fullest, requiring any new downtown building to have at least 40 stories. By requiring developers to create more, not less, floor space, the government would encourage more housing, less sprawl, and lower prices. The magic of cities comes from their people, but those people must be well served by the bricks and mortar that surround them.
Cities need roads and buildings that enable people to live well and to connect easily with one another. It certainly makes sense to control construction in dense urban spaces, but I would replace the maze of regulations now limiting new construction with three simple rules.
First, cities should replace the lengthy and uncertain permitting processes now in place with a simple system of fees. If tall buildings create costs by blocking out light or views, then form a reasonable estimate of those costs and charge the builder appropriately. The money from those fees could then be given to the people who are suffering, such as the neighbors who lose light from a new construction project. There is plenty of room for debate about the costs associated with buildings of different heights. People would certainly disagree about the size of the neighboring areas that should receive compensation.
But reasonable rules could be developed that would then be universally applied; for instance, every new building in New York would pay some amount per square foot in compensation costs, in exchange for a speedy permit. Some share of the money could go to the city treasury, and the rest would go to people within a block of the new edifice.
A simple tax system would be far more transparent and targeted than the current regulatory maze. Today, many builders negotiate our system by hiring expensive lawyers and lobbyists and buying political influence. It would be far better for them to just write a check to the rest of us. Second, historic preservation should be limited and well defined. Landmarking a masterpiece like the Flatiron Building or the old Penn Station is sensible.
Preserving a post-war glazed-brick building is absurd. But where do you draw the line between those two extremes? My own preference is that, in a city like New York, the Landmarks Preservation Commission should have a fixed number of buildings, perhaps 5,, that it may protect. The commission can change its chosen architectural gems, but it needs to do so slowly.
If the commission wants to preserve a whole district, then let it spread its 5,building mandate across the area. Perhaps 5, buildings are too few; but without some sort of limit, any regulatory agency will constantly try to increase its scope. The problem gets thornier in places like Paris, practically all of which is beloved worldwide. He came to church the following Sunday and we were able to share more in depth with him. These hours and hours of intercession will continue to have influence in concert with the prayer of the Body of Christ in Metro Manila Plus.
Together they have done evangelism on the streets, in the red light district, and from door to door. Church members have testified that it has been their first time to intentionally seek out specific parts of their communities, such as the red light district, but now that they have, they are excited to continue. Some pastors shared that they have been encouraged as they have seen dramatic church growth through the ministry of teams.
Over four days there was much worship, teaching, and application. Many participants reported breakthrough in different areas of their lives as a result of getting fresh revelation and applying it to their lives. They were able to sing some songs, pray for inmates, share testimonies and the gospel, and distribute Bibles. The team was able to continually return and disciple the inmates.
We did 3 hours of teaching and then went out for evangelism. We only had 30 minutes to go out and it was pouring rain! Despite that, there were 20 salvations, 4 instant healings, 33 people prayed for, and 38 people who heard the gospel.
One week one of the mums asked if she could share her story with us. It turns out that she was saved by coming to one of our Bible studies. One team went into a slum regularly with a group of local church members, and now their church is looking to continue the ministry. They have done a lot of street evangelism, public worship, open air evangelism, and some teams have run Discipleship Seminars. In addition, a Simple Health Care seminar was also held.
Megacities teams got very involved, helping to join in and do what they could to bring hope and restoration to the affected community. In response to God speaking, one team raised finances to help with building supplies for the community, and gathered donations of clothes. Other teams were able to follow up with house visits and prayer.
At the end, we had around 20 men saying they wanted to follow Jesus, and we led them in prayer. Since then we have been able to return to lead Bible studies and disciple these men. We started to pray and ask God how we could bring His Kingdom in this scenario. We sent out newsletters to people from all around the world, and we asked them to consider giving what they could.
We sent the newsletters to the other teams that were working as missionaries in Metro Manila. Many teams gave, so in the end, we had a lot of clothes and finances to be able to donate. We asked a local pastor how we could best use our resources, and we invested in building supplies to give to people who need them, through the church.
We noticed her eyes were very bad, so we prayed for her eyes. She was instantly healed and began to cry because she could see! She told us to share this with the whole neighbourhood. We prayed for her, and God instantly healed her as well! She grabbed her friend to also receive prayer for psychological sickness because of traumatic events from a fire. We prayed and this woman was healed of psychological trauma.
Church members of all ages have joined in on evangelism on the streets, sports ministry, and ministry in schools, prisons, and hospitals. We asked them personal questions and their eyes were opened to what a life with God can look like.
After the teachings, a local pastor, who we have been regularly working with, led 19 of the men to salvation! The lady who prayed alongside me was just saved last week! I encouraged her to keep going out and doing this because she has the Holy Spirit in her. We did the same thing at another community right after. Now I am not afraid to share my testimony. True transformation takes place as people give their lives to Jesus. Sharing the gospel in all areas of society is central in ministry for every Megacities team. Teams encountered incredible softness to the gospel all over Metro Manila Plus.
Our people are more excited about going out and sharing the gospel! We led the inmates through discipleship, and some of the prison officers too. By the end we were able to give them Bibles and conduct Bible studies with them. He has organised to continue meeting with our local church contact and would like to join the prison ministry. But since the Megacities team has been going out on evangelism, both services are completely full!
Before, we did one service every month, using a space that fits two to three hundred people, and now this space will not fit everyone. Growth is happening in our church, not only with us, but also other ministries here in the area. Our prayer is that this movement of salvation will multiply exponentially all over the city and nation. One team saw people surrender their lives to Jesus in one week. Another team was able to see students from one school invite Jesus into their lives. There is a softness to the gospel in Manila!
On just one occasion, Bibles were given out, and each person who received a Bible also received prayer. There has been a hunger for the Word in all different areas of society; Bibles have been given out in slum communities, police stations, and throughout times of house to house evangelism too. In addition to doorto-door health care ministry, teams ran 4 health care clinics and 2 dental clinics. There were opportunities to teach at a local maternity hospital, and educate pregnant women, single mums and teenagers in health care practices.
They also had the chance to do clinics in police stations, and worked alongside hospitals to give health care. Both police officers and nurses have come to know Jesus through this time! Through this they had the chance to mobilise the youth and train them in evangelism, setting up a weekly evangelism time to go to Rizal Park. Youth have shown up to evangelism times excited and prepared, with songs and instruments to lead worship and share the gospel in their own city! We went into 18 classrooms that day to preach the gospel. We got permission to share at the talent show, where we did some dramas and preached the gospel.
About students attended, and accepted Christ. I felt to share the gospel with the crowd who were waiting to be seen, and I asked one of the policemen if he would come over to translate. When we were finished a few people responded to the gospel. I then asked the policeman what he thought about the message; he said that this was something he wanted in his life. He gave his life to Jesus, and later shared the gospel with 4 other policemen.
We led them to Jesus together. Over 50 people gave their lives to Jesus and each of them received Bibles. We went back, shared with the officers, and gave them all Bibles. One couple that was being sent to prison thanked us for the Bibles. These detainees will get to take the Bibles into the prison with them. There have been art workshops, evangelism seminars, Discipleship Seminars, and teaching on many more topics within the church.
There has been a great response to these teachings, and people have been equipped with new ways to go out. One team had the opportunity to share a drama and testimonies with a city gathering of 1, people. They have also gone into a juvenile prison, and visited a hospital to pray for people. Universities and schools have opened their doors to teams, and students have been responding strongly to the gospel.
Towards the end of their time, one team started Bible distribution, which the next team continued. They were able to go back and continue discipleship, as well as give Bibles to those who responded. As they established these regular meetings, they also taught Bible study methods to local Bible students and a church youth leader, with the vision to see them carry on and start more community Bible studies themselves.
We taught about the nature and character of God, shared testimonies, and had a time of response and worship. Many of the students were not Christian, but by the end of our teaching times, they were joining us in worship. At one of the schools, many of the students wanted to give their lives to Jesus. So our team put on an art event where we did face paint, worship, and had a local pastor share the gospel. Three different churches came together for this. Over people came to Christ, more than people were prayed for, and Bibles were given out! Someone from the feeding program shared the gospel and did an altar call.
One boy looked very confused, so I approached him. He did not speak much English, so he started speaking Tagalog. I asked God to be my translator.
Suddenly, I could understand his Tagalog and he could understand my English! God miraculously translated for us! He came to accept Jesus and to understand God as his Father. Then I got to encourage him that he can share with other boys too, and they can know God as their Father! It was attended by youth, some young adult leaders, and a few of the senior pastors. We discovered that many of them were new to evangelism.
When we reported back, we heard stories of the Filipino youth seeing instant healings, leading people to Jesus, and stepping out in boldness to reach their own city! The pastors who joined us came back with many salvation accounts and an excitement to have the youth growing in a lifestyle of evangelism. Teams have seen much enthusiasm from local Christians to join in with ministry, with many of the youth accompanying them.
One pastor was excited as he shared with Megacities that during a period between teams, his youth had continued meeting for times of evangelism. They organised their own short outreach to a nearby village to share the gospel, leading eleven people to the Lord in a day! They have seen the community very engaged and hungry to participate in this training, with a desire to continue to learn more.
Teams have organised many open airs in different communities, and received open doors to work in schools and run youth events too. We saw the main families of the area come together to work on the project. Through that, we were able to have good conversations and equip them to care for themselves through having clean water. We were honoured to work with one of the local friends we made in Montalban. As he helped us translate a water filtration teaching, it soon got to the point where he began to teach on his own. He is still continuing to teach and build these water filters. Some of them were able to share the gospel with people, and 10 people came to the Lord through church members.
It was the first time he had seen the youth empowered to go out and share the gospel with others. We prayed for her and nothing seemed to have happened when she walked away. We met her again later that day and her eyesight was restored! We shared more with her, and she gave her life to the Lord. One of her sons had a back issue, so we prayed for that. God healed him and he and gave his life to Jesus too. Then her other son also gave his life to the Lord!
He found a translator and got into the holding cell. After sharing the gospel he saw all 60 of the inmates respond to Jesus. Then later in the day, we were doing an open air in a public market where the majority of the shopkeepers are Muslims who have been relocated from Mindanao.
After one of the local Christians shared the gospel, it opened a door for our team mates to pray for a Muslim woman who was instantly healed of tuberculosis and then gave her life to the Lord. Many pastors in Metro Manila expressed an urgency for greater levels of discipleship in the Body of Christ. They said there was need particularly among youth, but also among people that had been Christians for many years.
Megacities always makes discipleship a priority, so this request fit perfectly with our mandate. Teams were trained to pass on what they had applied in their own lives. The Discipleship Seminar - a multisession disciple making course was utilised all over the city. The teaching was accompanied by practical application, in order to not only hear about the things of God, but to live it.
It gives insight into how to pray, lead people to Christ, and how to represent Jesus. They are good for young people to motivate them to witness, and if the pastor attends, he can teach local people as well — they are very good for pastors and youth. The seminar ignites eagerness to serve God. One of the youth leaders we worked with attended the teaching. He said that the other leaders were inspired and wanting to apply it more too. It was encouraging to see God multiply the things that He was using us to teach others!
Over people have attended Discipleship Seminars. In addition, a number of other specialised forms of training took place. In many cases, different forms of training have also led to new partnerships among churches and other organisations. The results of this vast amount of training will carry on for many years to come. There have been Discipleship Seminars, worship seminars, and health care teaching for the youth.
The teams saw the church really respond to times of teaching and discipleship, especially the youth, with many of them coming forward for prayer and application of the teaching. Pastors have testified that as healings have been seen by local Christians, they have been greatly stirred up to see God move even more in Navotas.
Over the three days of the seminar, local people attended, and stepped forward to actively join in with what God is doing. There was a boldness seen in them, and some of these people got to lead others to Christ during the time of evangelism that was held after the teaching. The church and the youth joined us and at the end of the day we saw many instant healings and 22 people give their lives to Jesus.
Another team came the next day to work there with the youth and saw 44 salvations! Now almost everyday, whenever he is free from work, he joins us and helps us with translation. Upon arrival, we learned that these youth had never done evangelism before. Then we went out into the streets of Navotas. The youth shared their own testimonies, the gospel, and they prayed for people. We saw over 60 people prayed for, and the gospel shared with over 20 people. We want to be able to disciple those that have been saved. The first Megacities team prayed for a paralyzed man who was healed.
He now attends church. The local church has testified to seeing salvations, instant healings, and growing church attendance, as teams have passed on their passion for evangelism. One church network now has multiple groups meeting together every week for evangelism outreach, with the local Body of Christ excited to go out to share the gospel, and disciple those who encounter God. One church has even set aside a specific prayer room for their youth, as they have recognised the fervour of the youth to engage in intercession and the importance for them to have a space where they can grow that.
Over people from 12 different churches have attended these seminars. One pastor reported that among many of the churches in his network, follow up with these new believers is still happening, and this has brought the churches closer together and encouraged them to continue with evangelism and discipleship. We showed them how we do it and then gave them the opportunity to lead. On Friday we went out with 8 people from the church. They were helping us translate and share the gospel. Once we gave them the opportunity to lead, they just went for it! They talked to over 20 people, shared the gospel, led them to salvation, and prayed for them.
It was an incredible privilege to see them have a heart for their own community, stepping out and trusting God completely as they came with us. We did dramas, games, and then I shared the gospel. After sharing, we saw students choose to follow Christ! Afterwards, even the principal came over to us and asked if we could pray for him too. Pastors have shared about being challenged and encouraged when they have seen teams participating in Bible reading.
Multiple pastors have been inspired to dig deeper into the Word of God for themselves, and are encouraging the rest of the church, especially the youth, to do the same. Their adoption of Bible reading strategies will see the Word of God continued to be affirmed over the land. Local churches have continued with this after teams have gone.
There are now churches involved in sending food and medical supplies into the prisons, often meeting them with the right need, just at the right time. The church was very excited to learn and apply these skills within their church, and throughout their community. A nearby church has since sent their members to join the team in praying for people throughout the area. We also presented the gospel - and about 30 kids gave their lives to the Lord.
We then got to share with the parents as they came to pick up their kids. Our message was simple: God is love. As we shared, the Holy Spirit moved, using our words to bring comfort and hope to the inmates. Over individuals prayed to recommit their lives to God. God healed people of both short term and life long sicknesses, and we were able to counsel some through the process of giving and receiving forgiveness.
Liz Robertson — from Australia. We started with a small group from the church and a few other locals joined us. More and more youth began to join each week. One of the coolest things is that the youth from three different churches came together for this. As we gathered to sing together, they had the chance to take over. They shared with us that they hope to continue this worship night. God is bringing churches together! What we do to the least of these, we do to Jesus Matt. Megacities teams reach out in all kinds of unique ways to show the love of the Father to the poor, broken, and hurting in Metro Manila Plus.
It was really great to see the churches coming together, and we ended up seeing over 1, patients. Other opportunities that teams were involved with included prison and hospital visits, mobile clinics in slum areas, relief work after fires, teaching on simple health care, ministry to street children, building of water filters, and construction of family housing, giving them many simple ways to show those that are hurting that they are LOVED by Jesus and not forgotten.
Another focus was ministering to children at risk. God spoke early to Megacities leaders regarding His desire for His people to share His love with street children all over Metro Manila Plus. Many teams ministered in this area, while a few specialised teams focused on street children for the majority of their ministry. Mobilising the Body of Christ to multiply efforts to reach out to street children has been a key strategy.
One team produced a film spotlighting the plight of street children and how Filipinos could get involved. Other teams developed local ministry that churches continued after the team was gone, such as a simple outreach using basketball in San Juan. He caught the vision straight away and is excited to provide food and bring in the youth from the church to be part of the ministry every Friday night!
After one of the local Christians shared the gospel, it opened a door for one of our teammates and one of the mums who joined us to pray for a Muslim woman. We saw Jesus instantly heal her of tuberculosis, and then she gave her life to the Lord. God has clearly shown on the streets of Manila that He is the God who heals and sets captives free. At the end of the seminar, every one of them stepped forward to receive prayer and respond to what they had learned.
Parents of the youth and staff at the juvenile detention centre have reported noticing a significant change in some of the youth. One of the young adults from a local church accompanied multiple teams for this ministry, and has expressed a desire to continue visiting the juvenile centre each week. God has been inspiring many to join in what He is doing, and some of these ministries are now being continued by local churches.
One pastor initially joined a team for ministry, using basketball to reach out to the youth and share the gospel, and he now continues doing this on a regular basis. Many teams have run evangelism training sessions and Bible training, and have seen the local Christian youth stepping out to share the Gospel for the first time. Pastors have been encouraged when seeing their congregation getting excited about evangelism, with one saying it was the first time he had seen his youth empowered to go out and share the gospel with others.
They are ready to step out in their faith. We were able to pray for her, and she gave her life to the Lord.
We followed up with her, gave her a Bible, and connected her with the local church. Since then, she has been attending the church regularly and is being discipled by one of the cell groups. The church has also started a cell group in her home to meet with more people living in the slum. Her mother has since decided to follow Jesus, and church members have visited her family regularly. When we were there, kids came out and the guards watched on as we shared about Jesus. We asked if anyone would like Jesus in their lives and over 30 people said yes to Jesus that day - not just kids, but also the ones working in the prison.
Now we continue to go back to the prison and disciple the kids and guards too. We did skits, told testimonies, and shared the gospel. Around of them said yes to giving their lives to the Lord. We then sang songs and prayed over them. A number of them were in tears as the Holy Spirit seemed to be touching their hearts.
Each of us prayed for them. One team joined a local feeding program. Others worked with a ministry at a prostitution restoration centre. All teams were involved in teaching and encouraging local Christians at youth groups, church services, and through house visits. Teams also received invitations from barangays to hold youth meetings, teaching youth and young families about relationships, and discipling them in different areas.
Local Christians often accompanied the teams for ministry. One youth group really loved evangelism with the team, and said that they wanted to continue heading out! We started to sing with them and then shared the gospel. One of the pastors shared a message and asked who would like to receive Jesus. All 47 raised their hands! We cooked a meal for them, played games with them, and took care of their children.
At the end of the time, 2 of the women said that they are planning on going to a restoration home to leave prostitution. He liked the idea a lot and said that he is going to start doing Days of Compassion with his church once a month. He has already scheduled the first one this month. Later while we did an open air, he shared the gospel and 39 people responded! Megacities Coordinator, Wave 4.
Within our first minutes of collecting old plastic cups and other things, people started talking to us and helping us pick up rubbish. One elderly man shared that he was so amazed to see young Westerners doing this kind of service here. After that, we found ourselves surrounded by around 30 children, who started helping us too! A church started coming out on evangelism with a team every week and saw a lot of fruit from those times. One pastor ran a series of evangelism seminars across Metro Manila, drawing together local Christians from multiple churches and seeing many being trained and heading out to the streets for evangelism, some for the first time!
There have been Discipleship Seminars, evangelism seminars, and art outreach workshops. A Humility and Hunger Gathering during Wave 3 brought together around 45 local Christians from multiple churches. They gathered for 4 days of teaching on intimacy with God and obedience to His call.
Pastors have testified to this being a blessing, as the murals have brought beauty and truth to the community. These technologies are multipliable and could have far reaching impact. During that time I shared my testimony with 41 inmates and incorporated the gospel. After sharing, 24 inmates said they wanted to receive Jesus! Over our time there we saw God move through them in miraculous ways. The first time we went out on evangelism, we saw one of the church members lead a whole family to the Lord! They also started a regular Bible study with about 10 people. He invites pastors from many different cities and pulls a big crowd together.
Before we left, he held an all day seminar, where 70 people showed up, including 4 different pastors from around Metro Manila. Everyone went out for evangelism together. It has not been easy to get into these communities, but now because of the Megacities team, we can communicate with them freely and have another sort of evangelism using health care. They began by helping to translate for team members. Then they led in sharing their own testimonies and the gospel, as well as performing songs and sharing Bible teachings.
Local Christians have testified that they have been challenged by the teams to continue growing in this area, and the follow up of it. One church has even started 3 Bible studies in their local community as a result. At one event around 30 children gave their lives to the Lord! This inspired others, and now local youth have come together to continue to create evangelistic skits to take out and perform in their city to reach more people.
One of the local pastors shared the gospel and over people gave their lives to Christ at the event. Local pastors have also commented on how the teams have helped bring together youth from the different churches. After sharing the gospel with him, the team led him to the Lord and continued to disciple him. He started attending many of the seminars the team ran, and joined them for evangelism. The other one played the guitar and worshipped publicly for about an hour and a half.
Every one was involved: the churches provided a tent, sound system, projector, and soup. We presented some skits, and the pastor got up and shared the gospel. Suddenly everyone stood up. We realised he was leading them in a prayer of salvation! The whole church made it happen and carried it forward! I shared my testimony with 27 prisoners and asked if they believed that Jesus could break their addictions, bringing freedom in their lives. Almost everyone responded with a yes. I asked them if there was anything preventing them from following Jesus. Almost every person in the cells said no.
In total, 19 prisoners gave their lives to the Lord, and we were able to give each one of them a Bible. We saw a man who had a limp and a cane, and we knew he was the guy God was speaking about. We gave the man a tract and began a conversation about God that led us to pray for his healing. God told him to speak healing and then instantly healed him!
Mobilisation 3, Led to the Lord by Local Christians Salvations through local Christians while out on evangelism with Megacities teams. Salvations led by local Christians who have recently given their lives to the Lord through Megacities teams. Megacities teams in Manila invited local Christians to join them as often as possible. Many people joined throughout the year, resulting in hundreds being inspired, challenged and equipped to rise up and reach their own communities, even after Megacities finishes. We did open airs. We are not just exposing the community to the gospel, but our church was challenged to be a part of missions.
All over the city, many believers got involved with teams in going to the streets and preaching the gospel - from youth groups, pastors, church members, and even children! One of the churches joined and brought 20 children ages to do street evangelism for the first time! We went out in groups for 45 minutes - the children came and shared back that they saw 16 salvations, 5 instant healings and over 30 people prayed for! The Word of God is being preached to people. When our young people joined the Megacities teams they have been compelled to share the gospel.
The teams have triggered their heart for evangelism. As the body of Christ continues to engage their city, there is potential for a movement to take place that can have a far reaching impact, not just in the Philippines, but in the nations as well. This has been at the very heart of Megacities throughout the year - the desire to see the Body of Christ and local communities inspired and equipped to transform their own city and beyond. Churches have been active in this ministry, as well as in going with teams to do ministry in cemeteries. There have also been seminars run focusing on discipleship, evangelism, worldview and the Bible.
They were able to distribute food, clothes, and shoes, as well as provide counselling. They prayed for, and gave Bibles to people in this time, seeing 34 of them give their lives to Christ. One team was a Music Ministry Band and they reached out to the music community, performing a number of shows in different places and ministering as they went. Murals have also been painted for churches and communities, and they have served to bring joy and blessing to their surrounding area.
One team partnered with a local church to begin a dance and music ministry, aimed at evangelising through the arts. A youth group is now continuing this. One team of birth attendants was able to build partnership with local birthing clinics, enabling the team to minister to women in labour, connect those women to churches, and give the women the chance to have their babies welcomed into this world in prayer! Many miracles, salvations, and prayers have been seen and shared through this relationship.
One has had to look for a new venue to meet in, while others have shared about mass baptism services. They now meet every Tuesday to create music and dance routines to use to reach the city with. Before and after each workout we spent time with the young adults, sharing stories from our times of ministry and evangelism.
After a few weeks, the young adults started to invite their friends. From these times of fellowship at the gym, vision for a new ministry was birthed. They started to chat about how they could continue doing this, even as we left. One of them is a personal trainer, and he offered to run a fitness class a few times a week at church. Instead of paying for a gym membership, they use that money to buy equipment for the church. Once I was finished I shared the Gospel and the entire family gave their lives to Jesus together! The next team, along with local church members, began visiting the families of these children who recently decided to follow Jesus, trusting God for the families to come to Christ and be discipled.
Since then, one pastor has invited the seminar attendees to gather for a monthly time of fellowship and encouragement. He mentioned it would be good for different denominations who are close by to gather together, so that they can encourage each other in their ministry in San Juan. One team showed the Jesus film to a great response. It has been passed around and shown in many places throughout Metro Manila, inspiring many people already! Lives Committed to Christ: 1. They then started Bible reading with their church, and are going to read the Bible in 30 days.