Christians know our Lord's command to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations," and we emphasize that in our zeal for missions around the world. But what about the rest of Jesus' sentence there: "baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20)? How about all the instructions and teachings in the rest of the New Testament letters?
In God's plan, calling people to follow Him is the beginning of salvation, but certainly not the end of it. When we make disciples, they are gathered together with others to become churches. Churches have structure, order, and procedures taken from Scripture so that disciples can continue to make disciples without confusing and distorting the Gospel. The Apostle Paul wrote that the body of believers is "the Church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).
This is the motive behind AMG's equipping and sending national workers as church planters, building up "pillars for truth" in Gospel-impoverished areas around the world. These faithful men go out from their home churches, often against much opposition or even persecution, to proclaim the Gospel and gather believers together. Evangelism is a vital first step, but if we stop there, we are not obeying all of Christ's command. Without connecting new believers with one another through churches, we leave them vulnerable to confusion, error, and discouragement.
Around India, whether in rural villages, crowded cities, or impoverished slums, AMG church planters like Bangaru seek opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard.
In Bulgaria, men like Stoycho often serve several young churches as a pastor and mentor. There is hard soil in this former communist country, but he praises God to see fruit from the preaching of the Word as the Holy Spirit leads men and women to repentance and belief.
In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, AMG church planters like Pastor Augustine face many challenges to deliver the Gospel to their sometimes hostile neighbors, often braving rugged terrain and harsh tropical climate to disciple new believers.
Even as we follow God's call, we know that Satan fights hard against the establishment of the truth in new parts of the world. This work that our church planters do is not easy. Augustine recently shared the following story:
"Members of our congregation work mostly as rubber and oil palm farmers, and have very little income. Many families in the area are still strongly bound by the occult world, and villagers often report strange events. Recently, my wife and I have served people who were injured by black magic. After praying with them, by the power of the Lord Jesus, they were healed and released from the evil power. Some have come to Christ and received baptism. To be sure, I need your prayers in this spiritual warfare against Satan."
Without faithful support from AMG donors, we would not have been able to start this ministry, and we could not continue it. Bangaru, Stoycho, Augustine, and hundreds of others just like them are count on that support to provide them with the resources they need to care their families and the tools they require to spread God's truth.
Through sponsorship, donors are not just supporting a national worker, but sharing in their work and giving them an opportunity to be a blessing to their supporters as well. As Pastor Vasilev, another AMG church planter in Bulgaria, wrote to his sponsor recently, "I give praise to God for everything. May the Lord bless you hundredfold for everything you do in His name!"
Our church planters have some of the greatest need for new sponsors among all of AMG's national workers, as they often work far away from areas where short term teams visit or more visible ministries like childcare and medical care take place. Pray with us for these men and their families as they carry the Gospel. "The harvest is plentiful" and the workers are ready to be sent.
Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel (AMG) International is a non-denominational, international missions agency based in Chattanooga, Tenn. AMG's distinctive has always been its reliance on national workers to carry the Gospel in their own cultures. Today, they operate ministries in more than 30 countries around the world through partnership with national believers.