– Dr. Derrick Mueller
Whether walking the streets, watching TV, reading the newspaper, or engaging in social media, you can’t help but see that Canada is changing. The moral, social, cultural, and religious landscapes are shifting. The only way Canadians will know God loves them is if we believers share the gospel and become involved in the lives of the people with whom we connect.
Understanding the Landscape
So what does Canada look like today? Here are some elements of the landscape of today’s Canadian church (taken from Stats Canada).
1. Canada has almost 36 million people with an average life expectancy of 81 years.
2. Stats Canada says more than a quarter of the Canadian population has no religious affiliation, and that proportion is growing.
3. About 40% of first-time marriages end in divorce.
4. Suicide is a leading cause of death in young people.
5. First Nations represent only 3.8% of the Canadian population (about 1.2 million people) but their numbers have grown over 45% since 1996.
6. About one out of every five people is a visible minority.
7. There are more than 200 languages spoken in Canada.
8. About one-fifth of Canadians were born in other countries.
9. Immigration continues to be our greatest source of population growth.
10. Canadians are increasingly going to social media to connect; Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are some of the most popular methods.
Immigration, refugees, technology, the in- fluence of relativism, the effects of pluralism, the rise of divorce and remarriage, the decline in church attendance, and the shrinking youth population are just some of the challenging factors facing us as we share God’s Word and engage in evangelism through personal witness and in partnership with the local church.
To be effective in our outreach, we must consider this new landscape and seek cre- ative, innovative ways to engage people. We need to understand how the above trends are affecting our communities and brainstorm ideas to develop relationships and ways of sharing the truth and love of the gospel. We need to let our light shine so Canada has a chance to glorify God (Matthew 5:16).
With religious affiliation in declension, immigration increasing, the age of our population rising, and fewer children being born, we cannot rely on the church to grow through biological or transfer growth. We need to engage communities in evangelism and seek to win a whole new generation of believers.
The challenge is to not be conformed by the community but to be a community transformer, and that requires that weengage in reaching out to the lost. Today we must focus our ministries to see people come to Christ through conversion growth, for it is through new believers coming to faith in Christ that the church will grow and transform the communities in which they are situated. How else will Canada know that God is with them?
We have a great responsibility to share the gospel. How we share and what methods we use to reach out may have to change, but the gospel mandate remains the same.
It is important that we develop a cultural understanding of those to whom we seek to minister. In a nation where we are growing rapidly through immigration, we must seek to understand what it means to truly love our neighbour—and who really is our neighbour.
If we are to reposition ourselves to make a difference in Canada we must weave our evangelism, outreach, and discipleship efforts through every area of our life. Think practically on how we can model, teach, and live evangelism in our work, home, and community context.
Our vision is to reach our communities for Christ, and see God's Word at work in every country of the world, so that everyone has access to God’s Word and may come to know Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Lord.
Evangelism and The Gideons
Canada will know that there is a God when we demonstrate His love, proclaim and give His Word, and engage our culture in its search for meaning and purpose. Partnership with local churches in Scripture distributions, and personal evangelism continues to be the focus of The Gideons. Take advantage of our opportunities, training events, and resources. Together we can influence Canada with the Word of God.
No matter what the landscape of Canada has been and will be, The Gideons continue to make a difference throughout Canada and around the world by being personally involved in evangelism. We are uniquely positioned as an organization to increase our impact because of our members and chapters. Together we can make a difference.