Why not Canada?
by Don Klassen
“Why not here?” is the question that pesters me when I see the growth of the church in many parts of the world. What is it that makes the gospel so appealing elsewhere? Is there something that Canadian Christians are missing? Have we adopted habits that are hindering us?
Pastor Roy Moran in his book Spent Matches confesses he is weary of putting increasing effort and finances into practises that result in diminishing returns. Over time we have become more and more dependant on attractional programing, professional leadership and expensive buildings. There are a few larger churches that are able to experience modest growth with this approach but most of that growth is at the expense of churches that can’t provide the same level of attraction. Many Christians now gravitate to churches that “meet their needs”. Non Christian Canadians seem largely unimpressed by the attractions the church offers. Television, sports leisure and the great outdoors here in BC are more attractive than church.
In the first centuries the church experienced rapid growth. The early disciples had no money, no power, no human leader and they were outcasts in their own society. How did they begin a disciple making movement? The disciples had a life changing encounter with Jesus, the willingness to obey, the power of the Holy Spirit and lots of contacts.
Large movements to Christ on other continents today share similar characteristics. We have the same potential in our area. We need to take a closer look at how essential ingredient of Disciple Making Movements can once again take centre stage among Christians in British Columbia. If we do our part I am convinced that God will do the rest.
Pastor Merri Ellen Giesbrecht was exposed to Disciple Making Movement (DMM) over two years ago. She says “In the first year of focusing on DMMs, I found myself discipling a dozen new people I had met just out on the town. There were so many divine appointments. I have a new passion and joy in disciple making, without the need to find volunteers for any programs. I love it!”
Learning from what is happening around the world I would suggest the following practises take centre stage in BC:
Refocusing on intense sustained prayer for the lost and for transformed communities; Unleashing the potential of Christ followers to share their faith and to disciple their families, friends and neighbours; Modeling obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit as Scripture is interpreted by ordinary people in the context of their culture and in the presence of friends or family; Focussing on multiplication rather than on addition.
Outreach Canada is promoting an event on October 20 in Surrey entitled “Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?” outreach.ca/registration/dmm. Participants will take an exploratory journey into the steps of starting a movement in their own back yard.
Ultimately a Disciple Making Movement is entirely dependent on God. The best we can do is begin praying and developing some of the same habits the early disciples had. Only God knows what will happen then!