It Takes an Alliance to Build a Church

By Esther Schaeffer, serving in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso

Great accomplishments for the Kingdom of God typically involve many people working together—using their differing gifts for the glory of God. Pastor John Gnata would agree.

After graduating from Maranatha Bible School in 2010 with his wife, Kati, John became the assistant pastor of Acartville Alliance in Bobo-Dioulasso. He was tasked to oversee its church plant in Belleville—a fast-growing neighborhood stretching for several miles west of Bobo.

Although the cell church had been planted several years before, the congregation still met in cramped quarters under a hangar (a shelter without walls). Conditions were miserable when the dust would blow or it would rain; new believers soon moved on to find other places to worship.

Belleville Alliance Church’s Dedication Celebration

Video courtesy of Esther Schaeffer

God Hears

But God heard the prayers of this young pastor. Mr. N’Dyaye had bought property in Belleville, thinking he would build a house there someday. From time to time he would visit Pastor John, who told him about the Belleville Church.

Youth helped to erect the Belleville Church's roofOne day, Mr. N’Dyaye felt the Lord urging him to give some of his land to the congregation. Since he had a large piece of property, he decided to keep one half for himself and give the other half to the church. It was just the motivation this small Body needed to begin building.

Acartville Church youth took the lead in the project, helping to clear the land, make mud bricks, pour cement, and dig a foundation. But due to some unclear boundary markers, the foundation was laid in the middle of the two parcels of land.

Mr. N’Dyaye realized that the Lord had decided what the church needed, and he quickly turned over the rest of his property to the congregation!

U.S. Alliance

What about the church’s roof, doors, and windows—all big expenses? Again, God provided.

Erie (Pa.) Flightpath Fellowship had been looking to send a team to Burkina and get involved in a project; something about the fledgling African congregation touched their hearts. When they learned that the Belleville Church wasn’t far from the Bobo airport, they immediately felt a connection—their church is located near Erie’s airport!

Churchgoers partnered with us and raised funds to fly a work team to Burkina in August 2011 to help roof the church. After returning to the States, team members sent additional funds to purchase windows and doors so that the Belleville congregation could quickly begin using their new building.

Youth Participation Key

In many ways, Belleville Church’s construction has been a youth project. Young people from Acartville Alliance kept the project moving, saving a lot of costs because of their hours of volunteer labor. They were also a big help at the church’s March dedication, helping to organize, set up—and even clean up.

We are all parts of one Body, and each of us has a role in the building up of Christ’s Church. This is the idea that the apostle Paul communicated in I Corinthians 12—when all members of the Body of Christ exercise their gifts, it is amazing to see what we can accomplish!

What You Can Do


  • Donate today—partner with Alliance workers, like Esther and Andrew Schaeffer, who share the deep love of Christ through word and deed.

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