New Church Planting Leader Sees Opportunity
There is no single way to plant churches—and that’s a good thing.
Timothy Sheridan learned this and other lessons in his church planting work. He brings this and other valuable experience to Resonate Global Mission as the new church planting leader with a fresh vision for church planting in the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
“We are living in a time filled with exciting opportunities to demonstrate, proclaim, and embody the gospel in fresh ways for many who will encounter the gospel for the first time,” said Sheridan. “I see church planting as one of the important ways that the CRC is able to do this.”
Previously Sheridan served for more than ten years as pastor of Maple Ridge (B.C.) CRC, and prior to that he planted New Hope CRC in Hamilton, Ont. He also serves as professor of congregational theology and cultural studies at Missional Training Center, Phoenix, Ariz. Now, as he joins Resonate, Sheridan brings that experience to the leadership of the church planting ministry across the CRC.
In his work with church plants, Sheridan said, he learned how important new churches are to the health of our denomination. One of the key areas in which the denomination is growing is through church plants. Church planters have a heart for sharing the gospel and are often able to reach people who are not part of a church.
People who may not be comfortable visiting a traditional church are often more willing to engage with a church that looks a little different—so avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach is important.
The CRC is responding to the success of its growing church planting movement with more investment of staff and resources. And as Resonate has geared up to offer more support and resources for church plants, the CRC has also made church planting a priority in the denominational ministry plan.
Beyond the reach that church plants can offer, Sheridan highlighted two other ways he sees church plants as valuable contributors: revitalizing established churches and training capable church leaders.
Many established churches experience revitalization when they become a parent church. Their congregation walks alongside a new church trying new ways to do ministry, and that breathes new life into both churches. What’s more, the work of planting and parenting new churches is accomplished by Christians who learn from the experience and become better equipped and engaged to join God’s mission.
Another important goal Sheridan has for his work with Resonate is to foster connection and sharing of resources between the CRC’s international and domestic church planting work.
“We are living in an exciting time in the history of Christianity,” said Sheridan. “I see collaboration, learning, and sharing between our international church planting efforts and our North American church planting efforts as an important step for the CRC.”
Beginning Apr. 1, Sheridan will work remotely from Maple Ridge, B.C., where he looks forward to remaining a part of Maple Ridge CRC. Last week he shared with his congregation the news of his appointment, highlighting his gratitude for their support and excitement about this new calling.
Resonate’s director of mission innovation, Moses Chung, is grateful for God’s guidance and answer to prayer in Sheridan’s appointment. “I am extremely pleased and excited to welcome Tim to join the Mission Innovation Team within Resonate and CRCNA ministries,” said Chung.
Sheridan said he has learned many important lessons in his church planting work, including the need to work together. “I have witnessed the power of churches working together for the good of a city and how God uses collaborative efforts to advance the gospel and change lives.”
For more information about the CRCNA’s church planting work through Resonate Global Mission, visit resonateglobalmission.org/church-planting