Tentmakers Together exists to glorify God by engaging with churches, communities, and individuals through the marketplace. We accomplish this by partnering with local artisans, churches, and missionaries to share the gospel, plant churches, and empower those who would otherwise have limited economic opportunities to unleash their creative potential and support their families, churches, and communities through meaningful work. We believe that this will empower indigenous populations to lead the way in making disciples who make disciples among the nations.
We started Tentmakers Together after serving as missionaries in Tanzania and feeling the weight of both the physical and spiritual needs we witnessed every day. We served as missionaries in Tanzania after God called me (Jon) out of a comfortable career in financial leadership in international corporate and nonprofit settings. As church planters, we were equipped to minister to spiritual needs in multiple contexts, but we had limited options to care for physical needs. We tried out several ideas but mostly learned what not to do. We needed someone who knew the language and culture of the people we worked with and who, at the same time, could develop marketing and manage distribution channels in America. We can’t count the number of times we wished that someone with a shared vision to see Jesus glorified would come to help develop small businesses and train leaders in our community.
Eventually, we realized that we were equipped to accomplish what we hoped for so long that someone else would do. So, after drawing out hundreds of whiteboard strategies and testing all kinds of ideas, we founded Tentmakers Together. We began in Kigoma, Tanzania, in the community where we served as church planters, working with many of the same people we came to know so well in our time there, including other missionaries.
By God’s grace, there are already churches in Kigoma that desire to send out their own missionaries and plant new churches, but they lack the resources to do so. We work to help them find ways to become self-supporting instead of simply giving handouts, especially after seeing the damage that has been done by charitable efforts gone bad in some communities. We do this by seeking to honor the unique gifts and talents the people possess and help them put those talents to work. At the same time, we strive to ensure that discipleship and church planting remain a key component of our work, so we travel to Tanzania several times a year specifically to work with the churches there.