Bawer (not his real name) moved to Berlin, Germany, alone—but he found community through the church planted by Resonate Global Mission missionaries Mary Buteyn and David Kromminga.
He’s also finding new faith in Christ.
Bawer comes from Kurdistan, Iraq, where many people practice Islam or at least come from a Muslim background. Kurmanji Kurds, of which there are 15 million in the world, are considered “unreached” because very few are followers of Christ.
New York City was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic early on, and Manhattan Vertical Church felt the effects. A Resonate Global Mission COVID-19 relief grant helped keep ministry thriving.
Manhattan Vertical Church launched in partnership with Resonate in the spring of 2019. With worship services and discipleship opportunities in Korean, the church plant has become a home for Koreans in the area, especially young families and college students.
A village in Sierra Leone dismissed the idea of starting a church—not just once, but twice. Today, a church plant is growing and raising up strong leaders.
A New Approach
In Heremakono, a village of about 500 households in Sierra Leone, people come from a Muslim background. Years ago, Catholic believers tried to plant a church, but faith in Christianity didn’t take root because of the people’s strong beliefs in Islam.
Due to security concerns, we cannot share the names or locations of the people or ministries mentioned in this article.
Many immigrants were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. A COVID-19 relief grant from Resonate Global Mission helped make it possible for your church plant to provide relief and show the love of Christ to immigrants from a Muslim background in West Michigan.
Three congregations you support through Resonate around the world
Iglesia Cristiana El Sembrador
Pastor Harold Caicedo and Iglesia Cristiana El Sembrador in California have a mission to build unity in the body of Christ. Their diverse church is made up of people from 14 countries across Latin America, working together to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their community.
The church in North America is shrinking. People are leaving. People are identifying as religious “nones.” Church doors are closing.
But as we learned during the COVID-19 crises, church matters. The community church provides makes a difference within and without the four walls of a building.
“Church is a living illustration or picture of an alternative life—one that is focused on following Jesus and his ways,” said Kevin DeRaaf, who directs ministry in North America for Resonate Global Mission.
In late March, Bridge Church—a CRC church plant in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta—submitted an application to Resonate Global Mission requesting $3,000 to host a drive-in Easter worship service in their community.
“This is a HUGE opportunity to reach people in the COVID-19 crisis,” wrote Pastor Ryan Pedde.
Daniel, Joy, and Lydia* didn’t know Jesus before moving to the United States. All three of them lived in a country where the government keeps a close eye on religious activities. As a result, many Christians have renounced their faith or keep it underground. Daniel, Joy, and Lydia didn’t have many opportunities to hear the gospel.
You helped make it possible for Yogesh to place his trust in Jesus.
Growing up in India, Yogesh was raised in a family that practiced Hinduism. Many of his neighbors were also Hindu, but he had friends who lived a short walk away, and they were Christians. Yogesh spent a lot of time with them and went to church with them sometimes. He started to wonder if Jesus was real, but then he moved to the United States.
Carrie Rodgers didn’t think she had the skills to plant Alive in Grandville, a Resonate Global Mission church plant, and Allix Hutchison wasn’t sure how to step up and serve—but God equipped both of them to be leaders that the new church plant needs.
Healthy congregations need healthy leaders—but all too often, church planters find themselves on the brink of burnout. This fall, Resonate Global Mission gathered church planters for a spiritual formation retreat so they can thrive in their ministries long term.
“The Indo-Pak community is scattered in Southern California,” said Eric Sarwar, pastor of Artesia City Church, a church plant supported in part by Resonate Global Mission.
That makes it difficult for believers to gather in one space to worship together. As a result, many believers don’t have the opportunity to worship God in ways that express their heart—and those seeking faith don’t have the opportunity to hear the Word of God in a language that speaks to their heart.
With Sarwar’s leadership, Artesia City Church is changing that.
The Bridge, a church plant in Fergus, Ontario, supported in part by Resonate Global Mission, is passionate about engaging with the community. When the members learned about a recent need, they stepped in.
A Desire to Serve
As Pastor John Vanderstoep sought to partner with other churches in the community, he learned of three in the area that each hosted a community meal on Friday nights. They were looking for another church to fill the other Friday spot each month.
Hauwa was never especially interested in religion—until her 10-year-old daughter Kadiatu insisted on attending church.
The daughter of an Islamic leader and wife of a Muslim man, Hauwa had always practiced Islam. But as a determined women’s activist, her daughter’s education came before her Islamic ties. She enrolled Kadiatu in Kabala Christian School, a Resonate Global Mission partner in Kabala, Sierra Leone.
More and more Christian Reformed Church pastors are bivocational—they work another job in addition to pastoring. For many pastors, a second job is a way to pay bills. For others, a second job is part of their ministry.
“What does it mean to be a pastor? They embody Christ, and they share God’s love with conviction and with reverence, and they usher you into the space before God. It’s beautiful,” said Sam DeJong McCarron, who works as a ministry vocational consultant for the CRC’s Pastor Church Resources.
Shamshadeen Mayers felt God call him to be a church planter 10 years ago—he just wasn’t sure when, where, or how to plant a church. But God lined up the perfect opportunity to partner with Resonate Global Mission and plant City on a Hill Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
“I’m not the guy who goes to a conference and says, ‘Oh, I found the secret formula to saving our church,’” said Jeff Heerspink, pastor of F Street Neighborhood Church in Lincoln, Nebraska—one of two Christian Reformed church plants in Classis Heartland.
Located in the urban core of Lincoln, F Street Neighborhood Church does not look or operate like the established churches in its classis that have been around for decades. Jeff and his congregation face unique challenges, particularly in terms of sustainability.
The church is called to provide a home for all of God’s children, but sometimes children are overlooked. Thanks to you, a Resonate church plant has been able to show children how much God loves them.
God called Eric and Shumaila Sarwar from Pakistan to Artesia, Calif., to plant Artesia City Church in partnership with Resonate. As they joined the local community of immigrants from Pakistan and India, it soon became clear that God had called them there for a reason.
When Roosevelt Park Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., closed its doors three years ago, Allen Pontarelli and Henry Bouma knew the community needed another church. So, they planted Southwest Community Church (SCC) with the support of Resonate Global Mission.
But SCC did not start as a church. It started as a dinner.
Church plants are key to bringing the gospel to unreached areas. But how do church plants work? And who will do the planting? With Resonate’s help, John Granada is learning these things firsthand.
John felt a call to church planting after serving at Vida Nueva, a CRC church plant in Miami, Florida, for 14 years.
“It was a process of discerning a desire prompted by the Spirit,” said John. “I was envisioning, dreaming, and considering how God had gifted me and my family to serve. We were waiting to see what place he would lead us to.”
Olivia* was 14 when her mother passed away after never fully recovering from a car accident. That was just the start of her grief—but God met her at Destination CRC, a Resonate church plant in St. Thomas, Ontario.