What to Know Before Becoming a Missionary in Canada - Radical

What to Know Before Becoming a Missionary in Canada

Canada is breathtakingly beautiful in its diverse landscapes and population. People from many nations are moving into the country so rapidly that it has become nearly impossible to keep reliable statistics in many of the urban centres of our country. When I travel, I typically use my Canadian passport rather than my United States passport because the world seems to embrace Canadians with open arms.

Canada is beautiful, but Canada is in desperate need of Jesus. We need people from inside and outside the country to take their role as missionaries seriously.

Canada is Not the Same as the United States

If you decide to move to Canada to serve as a missionary, you must understand that in the same way that no one would ever say that France is just like Spain, Canada is not the same as the United States. In many ways, Canada is more similar to the post-Christian European context.

Canada is hyper-progressive in its embracing of all things secular. In Quebec, the government has passed laws banning public and government employees from wearing any sort of religious symbol. Many Canadians are attempting to scrub any traceable significant evidence of Judaeo-Christian influence from society.

At the same time, laws are being made to help those with mental illness to end their life. There are laws to prohibit certain conversations about sexuality and gender. Although Canada is a relatively new country, it is bound and determined to be a world leader in secular humanism by practice, not just proclamation.

Although Canada is a relatively new country, it is bound and determined to be a world leader in secular humanism by practice, not just proclamation.

Many Canadians think of Christians as dangerous to society, not simply weird. This is even more true in urban progressive settings. A friend who pastors a church in downtown Toronto told me that it took three years for one of his neighbors to speak with him after learning that he was a Christian.

Canada does not see the Church as people with good news. Depending on where you are in the country, the Church is viewed as oppressive, judgmental, and irrelevant people who protect sexual predators and abusers. We are viewed as preaching hate or, at best, rules that are out of touch with current societal trends.

Exploring Canada’s Saviour

Despite the negative view that many Canadians have of the church, people are willing to explore the gospel and the church through relationships. This seems to go against what you might think when I say that many Canadians believe that Christians are dangerous. Canadians tend to carry preconceived ideas of who Christians are and what they do. When they meet a Christian that does not match their stereotype, they are thrown off.

This has happened so many times in the area where I live. People will say things like, “You can’t be a Christian because Christians are judgmental.” Through these friendships, I am able to introduce them to Jesus, the one who died for the sins of the world.

Usually, I describe the church with “imagine if” statements. Imagine if the church was a place to develop authentic and deep friendships instead of pretending that everything is okay (John 15:12–13). People are usually still skeptical but have no idea because they have never knowingly met a Christian who did not fit their stereotype. Therefore, it’s difficult to start a church or ministry with a model of ministry in mind unless it involves a long period of building relationships.

If you are successful in building relationships and the Lord rescues people, it is important to know that churches in Canada are typically much smaller than those in the United States. The core group for church plants in the Southern United States is typically much larger than the churches in Canada.

Unfortunately, despite the great need in Canada, churches struggle to collaborate across denominational and regional lines. While we have a number of initiatives and ministries that aim to gather diverse Christian leaders in the same room, we are often unable to work together. Much of this stems from the reality that every province and territory is very different from each other. Because our nation is geographically and ethnically diverse, we can falsely believe that we don’t need to partner with others because they don’t understand what it’s like to be where we are.

Canada is a Hard Place to Minister and Plant Churches

But Jesus said that he would build his church––and he is doing just that.

Despite the difficulty, I hear reports of God using his people on mission everywhere in Canada. Across our country people are meeting Jesus and being baptized. Many leaders are being formed and trained. The Spirit of God is giving wisdom on how to make disciples throughout our nation.

I often share Galatians 6:9–10 with Christians in Canada which says,

And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. So then, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

What I love about the verse is the “opportunity.” Since there are so few Christians that live in our nation, almost everyone we encounter is an opportunity for the gospel and the kingdom of God to be sown.

We need more workers. We pray for them. The fields don’t look ripe, but Jesus says they are. Will you come to the land of opportunity so that more Canadians might know Jesus and find real value, meaning, and purpose?

Will you pray for us as we labor to share Jesus and our lives with people that view us as dangerous to society? Will you cry out with us for revival?

May he have dominion from sea to sea.

Dwight Bernier

Dwight Bernier is the Network Director for Acts 29 Canada and founding pastor of Church 21 in Montréal. He and his wife Jessica have four children. Dwight has a great desire to see churches planted all throughout Canada. He enjoys baseball, running, reading, U2, and playing in the city with his family.


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