Resonate Global Mission is championing a new priority for the Christian Reformed Church in North America’s ministry plan for the next five years: Church planting.
Resonate, the mission agency of the CRCNA, is equipped and ready to strengthen church planting within the denomination—but ministry leaders note that it will take the entire denomination to make prioritizing church planting a reality.
“Our denomination has much to offer our church plants, and we are convinced that church plants have much to offer in shaping the work of our various ministries,” said Zachary King, director of Resonate in the United States.
Church planting is a new priority for the CRCNA
Recently adopted by the Council of Delegates, church planting is an addition to the fourth priority of the CRCNA’s new ministry plan, called Our Journey 2025, to “share the gospel, live it missionally, and plant churches.” Resonate leaders, with strong support from other denominational leaders, urged the addition of church planting.
“As the group of leaders tasked with developing Our Journey 2025 were working, there was an assumption that ‘sharing the gospel’ included church planting as well,” said King.
But Resonate recently conducted a study that showed a desire for a denominational vision for church planting, and King said that assuming church planting was included as a priority in the plan was not enough. The plan needed to specifically address church planting.
“In the last months, Resonate and other denominational leaders have been listening to church planters throughout the denomination,” said King. “One message we heard again and again was that church planters often feel that their work needs more recognition and support.”
Church planting is a denominational effort
Church planting has always been an initiative of Resonate, but Resonate has been working to increase awareness, interest, and support of church planting in the denomination over the past few years.
“Church planters say there’s a need for denominational ownership,” said Kevin Schutte, a CRCNA church planter who leads Resonate’s church-planting initiative. “The more initiative and ownership that can be taken by a variety of denominational staff and churches to support church planting, the better off we'll be as a denomination.”
That’s why Resonate recommended that the denomination promote church planting as a priority for the CRCNA moving forward, and the agency’s ministry leaders are ready to collaborate. Resonate regional mission teams are at work throughout the varying contexts of Canada and the United States and are ready to continue their work with Classes and established churches to cast vision for church planting in each region, strengthen current church plants, and start new congregations.
Church planting will help to strengthen the denomination and its reach
Prioritizing church planting will be hard work, but it will help to strengthen the CRCNA and its reach as a denomination.
“Church planting is one of the most effective ways to share the gospel and grow the church,” said Kevin DeRaaf, acting director of Resonate in Canada.
DeRaaf and King note that existing local churches are vital to the denomination, but church plants provide unique opportunities for growth.
“A healthy church planting movement not only spurs multiplication,” said DeRaaf. “Church plants are where we are best able to experiment with creative missional approaches, minister within diverse communities, and reach those who may struggle to step into the doors of an established church.”