9 Canadian Ministries that American Church Leaders Need to Learn From
If you are an American Church leader looking for a glimpse of what the future of reaching our country is you need to study ministries reaching Canada. Our neighbor to the North is more secularized and unreached than the United States. In fact, in a recent study there is evidence that Christianity might be “completely extinct” from Canada within 100 years. This provides a fascinating case study for American Church Leaders looking to learn how to reach “post-Christian” cultures. In a lot of ways the culture of Canada is like a view of what the culture in the United States is heading towards … Canada is more culturally diverse than the U.S., Same Sex Marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005, every political party in Canada is left of the Democrats … [study of differences between Canada & U.S. (at a pretty funny site)]
I’m biased. I’m Canadian. I’m proud of the country I grew up in and started my ministry but I also love serving at a church in New Jersey. I think the fact that I’ve been shaped and molded by Canada equips me to reach America. I wanted to share some of the ministries that I look at from Canada to help us reach America. Canadians are by nature less self promoting so I doubt that most of my readers have ever heard of any of these ministries. I deliberately wrote very little about these ministries so you’d have to go and explore their websites to learn more.
- Village Church // Surrey, British Colombia // This church is seeking to reach post-modern West Coast people. It started in January 2010 and already a few thousand people. Love the way they articulate their purpose and calling. Refreshing.
- The Freeway // Hamilton, Ontario // An innovative mix of non-profit coffee house, art/music venue, church and community commons that seeks to be as a third place for their city. This ministry provides a model for a deeper level of engagement with a city than just offering Sunday services.
- Nouvelle Vie // Montreal, Quebec // Missional experts have label French Quebecois as the largest unreached people group in North America. Nouvelle Vie is a thriving church of thousands of people in the midst of this culture. Watch and learn.
- New Direction Ministries // National // Engagement with the gay-lesbian-bisexual-trangendered-queer community is often polarized into “radical acceptance” or “radical condemnation”. This ministry provides a “third way” and attempts to “nurture safe and spacious places for those outside the heterosexual mainstream to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ.” Love the work that they do to help churches understand and care for GLBTQ folks.
- The Meeting House // (Mostly) Toronto, Ontario // A thriving multisite church of 15+ locations and 5,000+ people. Part of a movement of churches that is an offshoot of the Mennonites … this church represents a fascinating mix of theological uniqueness and executional excellence. Love their focus on peace, simplicity and community.
- Arrow Leadership // National // Lots of ministries talk about developing leaders … Arrow is doing it. This intensive two year program is literally shaping the leaders of the Canadian church across denominational and cultural backgrouns. It’s impact on the future can’t be understated.
- Southridge Community Church // St. Catharines, Ontario // This church is a fascinating blend of evangelical outreach and social action. Their weekend services are engaging and they have deep ministry engagements with homelessness, seniors / widows & single parent families.
- Muskoka Woods // Lake Rosseau, Ontario // Part summer resort for kid & part leadership development organization … it’s is a fascinating view of what ministry impacting “Post-Christian” culture looks like.
- Connexus Community Church // Barrie, Ontario // This church is laser focused on reaching people who aren’t in church today. They seek to craft environments that people who are far from God will connect with to help lead them to Jesus.
Are you a Canadian church leader? I’d love to hear of other ministries that you think we should be learning from our home and native land! Leave a comment.