Storming the Urban Center of Montreal
“In cities, you have more Image of God per square inch than anywhere else in the world.” Tim Keller
In the same way that Canadians were known for their courage during World War II in storming Juno Beach on D-Day, we are calling on Canadian evangelicals today to courageously storm the island of Montreal and reduce the enemy’s stronghold on the citizens of that great city. Evangelicals in the province of Quebec number around 0.8%, but the number on the island of Montreal is closer to 0.3%. Furthermore, one half of the population of Quebec lives within a half hour of Montreal. Our vision is to see one Fellowship Baptist church planted for every 35,000 people in this metropolitan area, but our efforts alone will not accomplish the task. Similar to the cooperative efforts of many nations on D-Day, it will take the combined energies of many troops to accomplish the mission.
Two reproducing Fellowship churches, located in the boroughs of Rosemont and Ahuntsic, have faithfully extended the kingdom by birthing several new churches on the island of Montreal. Off island, a congregation to the northeast in Terrebonne-Mascouche established a church on the island of Laval (Laval Est). Then in 2004, for the first time in eight years, a new church (Boisbriand/Ste-Thérèse) was planted in the greater Montreal region.
God has done great things. Off island, we have seen three more congregations started since 2004: in St-Jérôme (2008) and Deux-Montagnes (2010) to the north, and Delson (2007) to the south. On island, we currently have three new Fellowship congregations in the boroughs of Côte-des-Neiges (2007), Ville-Marie (2011) and La Petite-Patrie (2011), with three other church-planting projects in the gestation stage in the boroughs of St-Léonard, LaSalle and Le Plateau.
That adds up to 10 new congregations in urban and suburban communities that have had little or no Gospel witness. We can only praise God and trust that this is only the beginning of a movement that will see a vibrant Gospel witness embedded in every borough and municipality.
As I was writing this article, the police were investigating the municipal offices of several Montreal boroughs looking for evidence of corruption. While they attempt to discover and rout out corruption, we have chosen to take another tack. Rather than simply identifying and controlling the symptoms, we have decided to go to the root of the problem, the human heart. We are introducing the citizens of these boroughs to the life-transforming power of the Gospel, which individually and corporately can bring about a lasting transformation from the inside out.
God is building a multifaceted army, with soldiers from various parts of the world approaching this spiritual battlefield on several fronts. Will you join us as we storm the island to see the salt and light impact of the Gospel doubled or even tripled in Montreal in our generation?
For a video on the importance of reaching cities, check out this link: http://vimeo.com/7904716
—Terry Cuthbert is the Associate Director of Fellowship Ministries.