Church Planting in Mexico City

Church Planting in Mexico City

Church Planting in Mexico City

By John Pieters

Tracey and I have been church planting for over 25 years. Through those years we’ve seen churches begin and churches close. We’ve lived through times of abundance and moments of scarcity. Each has brought us a greater appreciation for God’s work on our character and our trust in His goodness. Fortunately, we’ve never stepped back from the calling and work God has placed us here to do. Regrettably, we have had events and incidents that have saddened us.

When nationals embrace God’s opportunities to serve His people, we are amazed at how He provides for what they need from day to day. But when their own identity is hijacked by their culture, we see doors closed and believers left to fend for themselves. Several times we have witnessed these human failings, wondering, “What more could we have done?”

While Tracey and I are regularly looking for ways to learn more about preparing people to serve the Lord effectively, we’ve noticed some principles that have guided our journey in church planting. I believe these have come from our combined experiences of serving in different ministries for a long period of time.

  1. Never go it alone: there’s much to learn and to teach when working with someone. Make sure you develop and maintain a team.
  2. Before starting something new, think about who will take it over when you’re gone. Think about how to work yourself out of a job before you even begin!
  3. When in doubt about what comes next, do something. Without a doubt, you’ll realize quickly if that was the right or wrong thing to do, and you will have learned a valuable lesson in the process.
  4. Give everyone a chance and a place to serve, expecting that although they may not do it the same way you do, you’ll have learned that you’re not indispensable. You’ll have lightened your load along the way.

When we think about sustainability, we think about what helps us to keep doing what we are doing. We come back to the very heart of what God has taught us in His Word and are always pushing ourselves to “practice what we preach.” For each believer, the practice of regular daily Bible reading and a growing and deepening prayer life comes without saying. But to have and confirm a sense of our calling will help to steady our journey through the enjoyable and difficult times. Both Tracey and I have felt a confirmed sense of calling through the years and are convinced of where God has placed us and what we need to be doing here.

From the beginning of our church planting journey, we have been part of a wider community of church planters in Mexico. Our church plants are part of a network of churches that have grown out of one larger church. We are supervised by the leading pastor and meet weekly with the pastors and leaders of the other “daughter churches” for training, fellowship and accountability.  

As we get older, God’s wise words beginning in Genesis ring true about the need to rest each week. Our bodies cannot sustain the pace and distance that our bodies did when we were younger, so the need to replenish our bodies and souls has become a consistent weekly discipline. Together, we try to change our routine once a week. We have not always been successful, but we make the effort, and our bodies remind us of this truth if we become negligent in this area.

Whether through people’s words in books, letters, or phone calls, we’ve come to seek mentorship through regular contact with those who are further along in their life journey. We seek their insights, learn from their experiences, and pass those on to those who look to us for the same reason. God has shown us His favor by surrounding us with wise and gracious people who have spoken encouragement in times of pain and painful words when we have failed and needed to hear them.

We are also thankful to God for placing us in a ministry, outside of our church planting activities, where we’re required to meet weekly as leaders to share, worship, pray for one another and even sit to eat a meal together with other leaders in different churches.