PUEBLA, Mexico – Launched as a Missouri Baptist church plant in September 2011, Lifepoint Church of O’Fallon has had a heart for missions and discipleship from its inception. Less than five years after Lifepoint’s inception, God is now using the church to encourage and equip the people of Puebla, Mexico, to reach out to their community and plant churches of their own.
In the early months of 2014, Pastor Eric Darst and the members of Lifepoint began to pray that God would show them how they could obey the Great Commission and reach beyond the borders of United States. Through conversations with Ken McCune, the MBC’s multiethnic ministries specialist, the church felt led to begin a relationship with the Christians in Puebla to see if God would lead them into partnership.
Darst and a team of six other church leaders journeyed to Puebla in late August of last year on a vision trip. Puebla is a mountainous state in Mexico with a few cities and around 70 villages, according to Darst. After meeting Daniel Martinez Hebreo, the pastor of Alpocento Alto, the team was impressed to find that there were several men in the congregation who had a passion for reaching their area for Christ.
“Several men were hungry, willing and eager to see gospel transformation in their neighborhoods, but they just needed some training,” Darst said. “They had never done anything like that, so we offered to partner with them in the ministry.”
Following the vision trip, Lifepoint entered into a three-year covenant with the Mexican church to pray and equip them to reach out. This year a team from Lifepoint returned to Puebla from March 7-12 to train their Mexican brothers in Bible storying and evangelism.
“We would model it for them, and then we would step back and watch them do it,” Darst said.
The teams from Lifepoint and Alpocento Alto traveled together to two other areas in Puebla to share their faith and start Bible study groups. God blessed the effort with nine professions of faith. Three of the new converts were baptized and joined a local Bible study.
With several Spanish-speaking church members, Lifepoint stays in close contact with their partners in Mexico. The local believers continue to evangelize the people of Puebla, although Darst pointed to the need for more Missouri churches to partner with Mexican churches.
“Of the 70 villages, only 10 have evangelical churches,” Darst said. “The need is great.”
Darst noted that the ministry in Puebla has also helped his congregation with boldness at home. The church plans to send another, larger group to Puebla this summer to continue the partnership.