Many Christians are aware of spiritual complications overseas, but closer to home — to the north — few know of the drought dehydrating the Canadian people of living water; many are deprived of Jesus Christ and his message of hope and salvation.
Christianity suffers in Canada due to factors such as the influence of other religions, separation of people due to distance and a scarcity of many churches.
Junior Christian missions major Ryan Murphy said “ One out of 10 people is a Christian. People there are very content with their lives and don’t really see a need to serve God.”
Over spring break, Murphy and a group of students traveled to Canada to learn about church planting as part of a class led by Dr. Tom Henderson, the director of missions for the Bell Baptist Association and an adjunct professor in the Christian studies department.
Professor of Christian studies Dr. Leroy Kemp also went on the trip, and he said,“The purpose of the class is to expose them to instruction for starting new churches from scratch — planting churches.”
The group of 13 people partnered with the Canadian National Baptist Convention and witnessed current church planting projects.
Most of their time was spent around Calgary, in the province of Alberta.
Junior Christian ministry major Ross Nesselrode said, “A lot of the church planting met people where they were. They didn’t have a church, and there was no sense of community. … It was taking a community and trying to impact the community as a church and share the love of Jesus.”
Christ’s love, and his Gospel, is what the students saw through the efforts of current church planters in Canada.
Sophomore Christian ministry major Hollie Williams said, “God is definitely working in Canada. The way I saw God working the most was through the inspiring testimonies of all church planters we had the opportunity to visit.”
These church planters emphasized that trust is the key to opening the hearts of the Canadian people to the Gospel.
Murphy said relationships were the focus of the church planters.
He mentioned the church starters, saying things like their primary focus being about building relationships.
They build these relationships so that they earn the right to share the Gospel with them.
They have to earn the people’s trust first.
On a daily basis, workers face constant struggles as they expand the church. Williams learned that beginning a church from scratch is filled with difficulties.
She said, “I’ve learned that church planting can be a hard calling for not only the planters themselves, but their families as well.”
According to the CNBC, there are about 250 Baptist churches in Canada, but this number seems faint in comparison to the total land area of the country, which is the second largest in the world.
The Canadian National Baptist Convention plans to have 1,000 affiliated churches in Canada by the year 2020.
The members of the church planting class encourage the university to be involved and obedient to God’s will.
Williams said, “The best way for the student body to serve through church planting is to pray for the church planters and their families.”