A Church Planting Renaissance
Something special is happening in Canada as it relates to Church planting. Our Fellowship is currently involved in 36 church plants, with dozens more in the incubation stage. I had the joy of attending Momentum conference in the fall of 2017 along with over 50 Fellowship church planters and leaders. Momentum is one of Canada’s premier Church Planting conferences where planters come to learn best practices, case studies, workshop training, and receive inspiration. During the Conference, Fellowship National hosted a “Fellowship Night” for our planters that included dinner, time of sharing, and prayer. It was a joy for me to see church planters from BC and Ontario sharing their stories in small groups while other planters from Montreal and Halifax prayed together.
Why Is Church Planting So Important?
The spiritual need in Canada is immense. Church attendance has declined from 70% in the 1950’s to 15% in 2006, and the fastest growing group is now those who identify as “no religion”, which has increased from 12% in 1985 to 19% in 2004. In spite of these numbers approximately two-thirds of Canadians still identify themselves as Christian. People are still open to hearing the Gospel. Christian leaders believe the biggest need in Canada is a clear and winsome presentation of the Gospel — most Canadians have simply never heard.
Along with the significant influx of new Canadians who are often far more open to hearing the Good News as they transition into their new country and environment, an opportunity to leverage the Gospel in Canada among immigrants is presenting itself now.
Our churches need to be guided by several principles in our church planting efforts:
1. Churches best create churches
- Planting churches is best accomplished by local churches multiplying themselves, whether that be a mother church, association partnership, or “Antioch” church*
*An Antioch church is a proven multiplying local church in our AÉBÉQ (French) Region
2. Churches best create leaders
- Leadership is vital. Leaders are best developed through mentoring and ministry training done in the context of the local church, whether that be through internships, cohorts, or our Immerse program*.
*Immerse is a church-based theological educational model founded in our Pacific Region and adopted/modified in our AÉBÉQ (French) Region.
3. Churches best make disciples
- Studies and surveys consistently show that church planting is the most effective way to win the spiritually lost, and the church is God’s chosen instrument for making disciples.
In this edition of THRIVE, you will learn about the efforts of Fellowship church planters and missionaries in Canada and beyond. Also featured are the efforts to revitalize many of our local churches as we reintegrate the Great Commission DNA back into our movement of churches.
Our theme verse for 2018 is Romans 12:12 (NIV):
“Be joyful in HOPE, patient in AFFLICTION, faithful in PRAYER.”
The church remains the greatest HOPE of our nation. Consider spending time in daily prayer for the church health (vitality) and church planting (multiplication) efforts of our movement.