Be Genuine

Dietzes at worship service

Jason and Cheryl Dietz were appointed to serve as church planters in Dresden, Germany, in 2006. The part of the world they live in has been called the most secular region on earth. Religion and faith are almost a foreign concept for most, and the Dietzes’ approach is to initiate spiritual conversations with everyone they come in contact with. “Those who show interest hear more and more from us, the whole gospel presentation, and an invitation to respond,” said Mr. Dietz.

After finishing their bachelor degrees at West Texas A&M University, Mr. and Mrs. Dietz moved to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for Mr. Dietz to get his master's of divinity., with a career of missions in mind. While in seminary, it became clear that the timing for missions was not right. “After several years of ministry in Texas, we both began to sense independently that it might be time again. When we contacted the board, it had been 10 years since we first had started the process with them, but we were surprised to find out they still had our file open,” said Mr. Dietz. The process went quickly from there, and around 7 months later they were appointed.

Mr. Dietz grew up as a pastor’s kid in Colorado, and a missionary kid in Chile. He saw the life of a missionary kid to be one of “adventure, challenge and experiences unique to cross-cultural living.” He knew he always wanted to live and serve the Lord, but not as a vocational minister. “It was first in college where I realized that anything else I could do would be a waste of the preparation God had given me,” shared Mr. Dietz.

Mrs. Dietz became a Christian when she was 11, at Vacation Bible School.

Mr. Dietz presents himself as a church planter, and says that it is unusual enough that it generates curiosity and opportunities. “We teach our children the same sorts of things we teach the people we train—how to share their faith and talk naturally about God and Jesus to their friends,” Mr. Dietz said.

Their days consist of trying to reach people. They are constantly exploring new areas of the city at different times of the day. “We do a lot of training and mentoring new believers. We have Bible studies and worship services with the church plants,” shared Mr. Dietz. Mrs. Dietz keeps Jason and the team organized. She helps the missions efforts across Germany in the same way—with logistics, planning and booking for events and retreats, etc.

“I enjoy working with people. I enjoy the mentoring role that missions involves—both mentoring new Christians to reach their culture, and mentoring our co-workers in making the most of the opportunities here,” said Mr. Dietz. The hardest thing for their ministry is the way that the people of Germany are so closed to the gospel. People do not see the need of their ministry there. “Living in an area where 90% of the population is third-generation atheist can be a hard nut to crack,” Mr. Dietz said.

The team, which consists of 7 families across their whole area, a few German national partners, and, sometimes, volunteers, has quickly learned that the 1 thing they have to offer is Jesus. “We come to people with Jesus—just Jesus. We witness and we disciple the people who receive the gospel. We plant churches that tend to start out as house groups. We teach them that church is people, and not a building or institution,” said Mr. Dietz.

“Just about everybody in Germany is postmodern, and certainly post-Christian. The key to reaching these atheists is not with apologetics. What can reach people, in this context, is our personal experiences with Christ. The value of a personal testimony for a postmodern is huge, especially when delivered with respect for their life experiences and ideas,” said Mr. Dietz. As they see daily life measure up to the ideals Christians claim to hold, the acceptance of their message is strengthened.

“Germans are friendly. They value genuineness,” Mr. Dietz said. “When you bring everything—hobbies, profession, families, etc.—under the reality of the gospel, we find limitless avenues for relating that truth to everyone in our lives.” That being said, one must be able to communicate such topics. German is a harder language to learn than others. “If you really dive in and immerse yourself, it should take you about 18 months to learn well enough to live and minister in a way that will really impact people on a heart level,” said Mr. Dietz.

Living as the Dietz family does, in such a historic area, they do their best to see the historic sites and cities. “It would be a shame for our kids to be here and not see some of it,” shared Mr. Dietz.

Over the years, their team has expanded and grown, and Mr. Dietz now leads a team of church planters all across the eastern half of Germany. The area of focus includes the cities of Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin, Nuremberg, and Munich.

Join us in praying for the Dietz family. Pray for their children. Home schooling is illegal in Germany, and the German school system is quite challenging. Pray for the churches their team has started. Pray that they will continue to be strong and true, in spite of the lack of openness to the gospel. Pray that the team will not grow frustrated or discouraged, and for the post-Christian culture. Lastly, pray for more workers, and that they would rise up in Germany. Let us be reminded of one of Mr. Dietz’s favorite verses, Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (ESV1) May we be confident in the work that God has begun in our lives, and find peace in knowing it will be brought to completion, in the Savior’s perfect time.

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by Tessa Harville, Preschool Resource intern

1. Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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