Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… By 2031, 74% or 42 million Canadians will live in urban centres in Canada (Source: Religion Mix Growth in Canadian Cities 2006-2031, Canada Heritage Dept.).
Throughout Canada and the world, people are migrating to cities for a variety of reasons. The trend has been going on for decades and it’s increasing. Are people finding what they are looking for by moving into Canadian cities?
In a statistics Canada Study: “How’s Life in the City? Life Satisfaction across Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and Economic Regions (ERs) in Canada,” the authors asked how satisfied urbanites were. There was some interesting data for Christians who desire to reach city dwellers with the Gospel. All info was based on 340,000 respondents over 2009-2013.
Which Canadian cities have the most “satisfied” residents?
o Respondents answered with a number on a scale of 0-10, 0 being “very dissatisfied with life” and 10 being “very satisfied with life”.
o The top cities were:
In light of this reality, our movement of churches need to become more effective at reaching urbanites with the gospel. This growing demographic are typically more secular or part of another religious group other than Christian. For instance, by 2031, 50% of all non-Christian/other religion city dwellers will be Muslim.
A NEW TYPE OF SCHOOL IN OUR FEB CENTRAL REGION
Our FEB Central region is seeking to address this growing reality. FEB Central’s Church Planting Director, Tom Haines, has begun a new Church Planting Institute along with Pastor Darryl Dash, an urban church planter who began “Liberty Village” a few years back in downtown Toronto. I asked Tom and Darryl to prepare a brief description of what they are attempting to do for the Kingdom:
“Toronto is North America’s fourth largest city, but it’s also one of its least churched cities.
“The need in Toronto is great. You are 1.5 times more likely to meet a Buddhist than a Baptist in Toronto. Most people in Toronto have not rejected the gospel; they’ve never heard it. Just to keep up with population growth, we need to plant 300 churches in the next 25 years.
“FEBCentral has started Advance Church Planting Institute to respond to these needs. It’s our hope to create a perpetual engine of church planting that will see churches planted in Toronto and beyond. It’s based on the conviction that urban ministry is different and that we need to recruit and train church planters who will commit to serve in challenging urban contexts.
“Advance is a cohort-based training system. Meetings take place on Saturdays and consist of training and coaching. Participants also receive training within churches in Toronto. The goal is to prepare each student to plant a church at the end of the two-year program.
“Pray with us that God will raise up workers for the harvest in urban centres like Toronto. Visit www.advancechurchplanting.ca and share this information with others who have an interest in urban church planting.”
In recent months I have also had the joy of talking to urban church planters in Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax and Vancouver. Pastor David MacBain is planting “Wild Goose”, a creative church plant in downtown Vancouver being daughtered by three Fellowship Pacific churches. This is a courageous endeavor.
Please join me in regularly praying for our Fellowship church planters across Canada and other countries through the faithful ministry of our Fellowship International missionaries. Also pray for direction for how our movement of churches might become more effective at planting the many 100s of new churches needed in our Urban centres over the next couple decades.
Thank you to Tom and Darryl who are leading the way by seeking to train a new generation of future urban church planters.
Have a blessed week,