Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and Friends,
Steve here…In the 1930s our Fellowship started sending pioneer missionaries to Quebec to plant churches and win francophones to Christ. In those very early days, Dr. W.S. Whitcombe was questioned by two French university students while travelling on a train near Ottawa. They asked, “Why are you reading your Bible? Are you a priest?” He realized then that his Seminary needed to prepare men and women for ministry in all of Canada, including francophone Quebec. At one time, French was a compulsory class at Toronto Baptist Seminary.
Wilfred J. Wellington, Murray and Lorne Heron and others were already seeing fruit in N.W. Quebec in Val d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda. Their open-air evangelistic rallies on the streets of these cities resulted in them being sent to jail and it even made front page news across Canada and in Time magazine. Our Fellowship pioneers served a total of seven years in jail. Yes, this was done in Canada.
In 1958, our young Fellowship of churches (birthed in 1953) created the Fellowship French Mission with the sole purpose of planting francophone churches and preparing French Canadians for pastoral and missionary service. It’s a remarkable story and can be studied in books written by several of our pioneers over the past decade.
Today, the Fellowship is the largest group of French-speaking churches in Quebec. We are 87 churches and approximately 8,000-9,000 believers. However, there is much work still to be done. There are six million French speaking people in Quebec and we know of very few countries in the world sending missionaries to them. English Canada remains strategic in God’s sovereign plan in reaching French Canadians for Christ. But, we’re changing how we’re going to do it.
The French Mission ends, but the Mission to the French is Re-Fueled.
We are two-thirds of the way through a five year plan to bring the Fellowship’s French Mission to an end. By December 2014, our French Mission (church planting) workers will be supported independently by their local churches and Regional church planting ministry. Our hope is that all of our anglophone Fellowship Churches will continue to support these young churches. Long-standing relationships with those missionaries do not need to end. However, funding will be directed to the churches as no “Fellowship French Mission” will exist.
In 2011, a new church planting paradigm was adopted in our French (AEBEQ) Region. A new Strategic Directional Document entitled, “Reaching Francophone Canada”, was adopted by National Council in the spring of 2012. Key elements of this plan include:
· French church plants can be funded in Quebec and also in other parts of Canada (i.e. eastern-Ontario, northern-New Brunswick, etc.)
· Funds are sent directly to the Regional church planting ministry for French churches being planted in their region.
· Funds are sent to National for church plants that are being planted outside of your region.
· Churches will twin/adopt new French church plants and develop collaborative relationships. This partnership will be for seven (7) years with a possible extension of three (3) more years. We hope pastors and people of French and English churches will become the best of friends as they fund and serve one another.
“Reaching Francophone Canada” Directional Document
Churches and individual supporters, who agree we still need to be involved in francophone missions after the “Fellowship French Mission” is retired (December 2014), can still give generously to French church planting. Please take a moment to watch my brief VIDEO clip below. Just click on it and hear more about the Fellowship’s continued evangelistic ministry to francophones across Canada.
Also note that you can open two attachments that were recently sent to every church in our Fellowship. I hope pastors will send all this information to their Missions Committee teams to update them on this exciting venture together. The FAQ sheet attachment below will hopefully answer further questions you might have.
Please feel free to contact our
French Missions Director, David Dobson (email@example.com), if you have any questions about your current support of French workers and how you can continue that support to the churches they serve.
Or, if you desire to adopt a new French church plant in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba or New Brunswick, David would love to connect with you.
Only 0.8% of French Canadians have a personal relationship with Christ. It drops in Montreal to less than 0.3%. These are the lowest evangelical percentages in the western hemisphere. Quebec is our neighbour. Maybe a French Canadian is your personal neighbour. Prayerfully consider your prayer and financial support of church planting among French Canadians.
Have a blessed week,
Our 2013 Fellowship theme verse is:
“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7