“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 14:4-5, NRSV)
Pastor Bener Agtarap was born and raised in a working-class home in a lowly fishing town in Manila. He self-supported his education from high school to college. He used his gifts in music and skills as an entrepreneur to support his education and his family’s economic situation. His parents taught him and his siblings the importance of faith and devotion to God, love for family and country, fairness, hard work, and advocacy for social justice. They were poor yet rich in faith and hope in God.
Amid political turmoil in the country and the economic hardships of many Filipino families, Pastor Bener experienced the love of God through the Christian outreach program of a local St. Peter United Methodist congregation in his hometown. The youth volunteers and deaconesses of the vacation Bible school of this church helped him, and other kids understand that every person is sacred and a beloved child of God.
Pastor Bener’s love affair with God that had begun in his youth continues today as the cornerstone of his faith journey and Christian service as a United Methodist following the way of Jesus.
His ministry experience of more than thirty-eight years with all levels of The United Methodist Church structure has established him as a seasoned church planter, church administrator, project manager, cabinet member, and executive officer of the United Methodist Church denomination.
Pastor Bener Agtarap has a solid administrative and project managerial background with experience in local and global contexts and cross-sector exposure within the life, ministry, and organization of The United Methodist Church connection and ecumenical agencies. He can build and implement comprehensive ministry plans with solid adherence to building alliances and partnerships with critical stakeholders.
His rich ministry has made him culturally and theologically competent to serve in any unit within the United Methodist global connection. He is uniquely qualified to lead our United Methodist Church denomination’s efforts to give birth to a vital, vibrant, and Spirit-led Methodism in such a time as this.
Pastor Bener dedicated himself to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ as a core mandate of Christian ministry. His ministry experience has been marked by a commitment to personal piety and social justice.
He has a passion and proven track record for discovering new and creative ideas with cohorts of leaders working together to fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Pastor Bener was born in Manila, the Philippines, on February 17, 1962. He is married to his wife, Clarita Reinante, and they have three children: Sola Kristie married to Jason Broadrick with two children, Eliana Rein and Aleiah Claire Katriel Kairos married to Casey Holznecht, and Kiyah Karmia.