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The State of the Church in Canada

John Mahaffey in conversation with Collin Hansen:

Churches serious about the gospel and mission have had to rethink how they do ministry. How do we communicate the gospel to a Hindu? How do we share the gospel with a Muslim? These are questions we have had to wrestle with. Our Jerusalems with which we were so familiar now look and feel like Samaria. Our neighbors used to be those who were physically close and culturally close. Now they are physically close and culturally distant. In major urban centers where the concentration of non-Christian religions is the highest, pastors and churches have had to think and function more like foreign missionaries if they want to reach people with the gospel. Many churches have not adjusted well to the demographic changes in their communities and have closed their doors. Others have looked upon the new multicultural reality as an opportunity to remake themselves into a diverse community that actually looks like the kingdom of God. . . . The church in Canada is no longer just a missionary-sending church. It is also a missionary-receiving church. We need experienced bicultural missionaries to come alongside the church and assist us in our mission…

In addition to the challenges the Canadian church faces in reaching people of other cultures and religions, the greatest challenge is to uphold the glory of Christ and the gospel in the midst of a multicultural world. The emerging generation of Christian young people who have grown up with Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Buddhists as neighbors and classmates can easily have doubts about the exclusivity of Christ. It’s easy to believe that people are lost when they are on the other side of the world. It’s another thing when they are your nice next-door neighbors.

Canadian readers, I’ll be at TGC’s Ontario Conference May 29-31—I hope to see you there!

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  • Mike Erich

    Being from the United States I can still sympathize with the situation, but shouldn’t this be how we were thinking all along. I am convinced one of the greatest errors of the Christian church both in the United States and Canada is to assume that all our neighbors were, if not Christian, at least almost Christian and we were not in a missionary situation.