How can your church effectively join God in mission? Kevin DeRaaf recently stepped into Resonate Global Mission’s new role as Director of North American Regional Teams and Canadian Administration—he and the Resonate team are ready to help you lead your congregations in engaging mission locally and globally. He shares more information in this Q&A.
Q: You recently stepped into Resonate’s new role as Director of North American Regional Teams and Canadian Administration. What does this mean?
A: This new role is designed to provide stronger support for Resonate’s regional missional leaders and their regional teams across North America. Together, we help our established churches really think about what it means to be on mission in North America and around the world. For example, we work with new church initiatives and new church plants in creative ways, we support the exciting and ever-shifting work of campus ministry, and we seek to pay attention to what God is doing in a quickly changing spiritual environment in Canada and the United States. We also help local churches and ministries connect with our international ministries and partners.
We in North America find ourselves living and ministering in an increasingly diverse cultural context. This opens up exciting opportunities for us in terms of engaging other cultures and seeing the world right in our neighborhoods.
Q: What excites you about this new role?
A: Anytime there’s a new role like this, it really builds on the great work of others. I have been personally blessed by so many of Resonate’s key leaders over the years, both as a pastor and in my time as a regional mission leader in Eastern Canada. Resonate is now two-years-old and this position focused on North America is part of a new chapter in a good story that God is unfolding in and through Resonate.
What hasn’t changed is Resonate’s responsibility to serve as the missional edge for the CRC. It’s our job to hold in front of our churches and leaders the call we’ve been given by Jesus to be and bring the gospel to our neighbors right next to us and our neighbors around the world. I’m passionate about that call—and for us to be the church we’re supposed to be, we have to live into it. That’s Resonate’s role, and if I get to help support that purpose, I love that.
Q: What experience in mission do you bring to this role?
A: I served as an established church pastor for 24 years. Spending a long time in one church gave me a chance to think about what it means for a church to be not just in the neighborhood, but of the neighborhood and start to engage with its neighbors. I was also involved in helping our church plant a new church, as well as other mission-shaped projects such as leadership development through the Eastern Canada Leadership Development Network and Churches Leading Change.
Q: Why is Resonate divided into regions?
A: One of Resonate’s values is contextualized ministry. We have 14 regions—8 international and 6 in North America. The needs of each region are unique and how to translate the good news of the gospel into each area is unique. It’s not “one size fits all.” Our regional approach represents our desire to be present in what God is doing locally and to come alongside that.
Q: How do local churches fit within this regional structure?
A: We want each church to experience a personal connection to Resonate in order to receive the help and support they need for mission. Every region in North America has a team of local mission leaders close by who are incredibly gifted. They have their ears to the ground in terms of what God is doing in our communities. Local churches can connect with their local mission leader who can help them think about their context in a meaningful way.
Q: How can churches work with those local leaders? What resources are available?
A: The church can contact either their regional mission leader or their local mission leader. If they aren’t sure who that person is, they can contact the Resonate office in Canada or the United States and someone will gladly help them make the connection.
Our regional teams are happy to talk with churches about engaging in mission locally—or how they can strengthen their relationship to a Resonate global missionary or project.
In terms of resources for local churches, one great tool that is proving to have remarkable impact is Go Local—it’s a way for churches to discern how to engage mission in their immediate context. It’s not a quick-fix solution or a workshop, but a journey of learning how to listen to where God is at work and developing strategies to step into that. We are hearing a lot of great stories from churches who have embraced Go Local in their setting!