The city of Manila, in the Philippines, is the fastest growing economic region in the world. The booming industry of call center outsourcing is creating a new middle class population. These young urban professionals have greater prospects than ever before, but those prospects are coupled with immense challenges. Our new campus in Manila is helping this new population cope with their changing reality.
Roland Ros recently returned from a PEACE trip to Manila where he witnessed this socioeconomic shift. “Millions of people have gone from earning $2 to $10 per day to earning that much in a single hour,” says Roland. “But the unique challenge of these workers is that they’re serving the American market, which means they have to work from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. to accommodate American customers.”
So what happens when you mix young professionals making more money than ever before with a schedule that involves working at night with no ability to attend church?
“Manila is now one of the highest growth areas for HIV&AIDS, broken marriages, alcohol abuse, drug addictions, and gambling,” says Roland. “There’s an entire city of middle class people popping up from nowhere.”
This new middle class is hungry to learn business leadership skills, stress management, and work-life balance. “Our surveys are showing us the their needs. So we put together a business seminar centered around business leadership.”
“We had 60 young professionals in attendance,” says Roland. “We had unchurched people who were shocked that a church actually put this event together. They said they would start attending church if these kinds of seminars were offered on a regular basis.”
Local business owners caught wind of the seminar and have asked to be involved in future events. An executive who owns more than 300 Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf restaurants has offered to host future seminars at his coffee shops. And the owners of three call centers have committed to hosting seminars for their employees.
“One of these call centers has 6,000 seats,” says Roland. “We want to help them create Purpose Driven employees, which increases integrity in the workplace, productivity, and retention. With these three call centers, we have a potential market of 1.5 million people to reach with the Gospel.”
Saddleback’s 12-City Initiative enables members from all walks of life—business men
and women, students, etc., to serve in unique ways. “Most of the people on our team had never been on a missions trip before. It was amazing to see how God used them, because they were just being themselves. The reason we built this business seminar is because we happened to have four business leaders on our team—a TV executive, a wealth management advisor, a CEO of a tech company, and myself, a former internet entrepreneur.”
“A lot of us expected to do work for clean water or poverty, but this trip showed us that unlocking the hearts and minds of the middle class in Manila can mobilize 1.5 million local people to do the work. So instead of a small team of 12 people, we can unlock the potential of 1.5 million people to serve their own community.”
Want to learn more about the 12-City Initiative? Visit saddleback.com/twelvecities.