Partnering with Jesus in Church Planting

Posted on: 
August 26, 2021

If you know much about All-Nations Bible Translation, you will have no doubt heard how All-Nations partners with churches to do translation and church planting. All-Nations stresses its role as a facilitating organization, placing a large responsibility on the sending churches to support their people on the field. This partnership is important, and I believe it sets the stage for sustainability and success in All-Nations’ projects. As an All-Nations field member, I get to experience firsthand the practical side of this partnership and benefit from All-Nations and my home church working together. But as important as this All-Nations/sending church partnership is, there is another partnership even more vital. This is the partnership with Jesus.

In the New Testament we see “divisions of labor” in church planting. Jesus stated the role that He would play in Matthew 18:16 where He tells Peter that “… I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” In Acts 2 we hear how “the Lord added to the church daily.” Church-building is God’s thing. The Christian’s role in church planting is teaching and making disciples. Jesus commanded his disciples to teach when He sent out the twelve and later when he sent out the 70. Right before His ascension, Jesus commanded those around Him to “Go … and make disciples, teaching them to observe all things …” Jesus’ role in church building did not end with His ascension even though His role as an active teacher did. As His disciples went about teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom in Jerusalem, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, the Lord continued adding to the church those who were taught and believed in Him. Even though not physically present, Jesus partnered with His disciples to spread the church across the world. This partnership between the Lord as the church builder and us as teachers of the Gospel continues to this day. What an exciting opportunity we have to partner with Him in the expansion of the Kingdom!

My wife and I are discovering to a greater extent just how much God has been building His church in our Mixtec town. When we moved here eight months ago we knew that there were some Christians here, but did not know how many or if they gathered for meetings. We did not seek out the Christians, but chose to make acquaintance with anyone we could and see how God directed. After six months of “random” acquaintance making, we met a family who told us they were Christians and invited us to attend a service with them. We accepted, of course, and were amazed at what we found. It turns out there a several Christian meeting places across our town, separated geographically so no one has too far to walk. As we have only attended services at the one meeting house, I do not know the exact number of people in town who have rejected Catholicism and joined the Christian church, but, based on what we have seen, I expect that it is over 100 individuals.

When I first realized how many Christians were here, I felt like half of my job was being robbed from me. After all, I am sent by All-Nations and my home church to do Bible translation and church planting. How can I do church planting if a church already exists? This question led me to ponder the truth I shared above. I realized that the presence of a church does not change my job at all. My calling is (and always was) to make disciples. This means discipling the Christians that are here and being discipled by them. This means sharing the truth of the gospel with those who do not know it yet so they can chose to become Christ’s disciples. The Lord has been building His church here for two decades already. I have entered the partnership partway through Jesus’ church building project rather than at the beginning. This may change the dynamics of the partnership, but my role as a disciple maker does not change.

It is exciting to see how the Lord has built His church through the discipling efforts of others. At the same time, it is quite obvious why the Lord called us to live here. With the Spanish Bible as their only resource, the Word of God is still inaccessible to many of the Mixtec Christians. Those who cannot read or understand Spanish must rely on the teaching of the few who have a better grasp of that language. These teachers are still reading the Bible in their second language, and one acknowledged to me that he sometimes encounters words which he does not know. Clearly the Bible in their mother tongue will help these dear Mixtec Christians grow in their understanding of God and how to follow Him. We look forward to seeing them grow in the faith and partnering with them in making more disciples.

Leonard H

  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10