When Pastor Ihsan came to Canada in 2014, he had already been serving as a pastor in the country he and his family had initial- ly fled to as a refugee. War in his home country had forced him out, but hadn’t
taken away his passion for planting churches. He carried
it with him all the way to Canada. God led him to John
Chung, an SIM Canada field missionary guiding established churches to partner with those reaching ethnic
communities inside Canada. Together they prayed for
churches to be established in the Arabic-speaking community around them.
Eventually Chung connected Pastor Ihsan to an established non-Arabic church in his area. Together the church
and Pastor Ihsan befriended the immigrants around them.
The work started as a home church meeting, but only five
months later the Arabic-speaking congregation held their
opening celebration service in the church with 35 members.
While the phrase “where Christ is least known” can
conjure far-off places and dangerous living situations, SIM
Canada director John Denbok says, “SIM’s leadership in
missions isn’t just beyond, but around. The worlds unreached are now across the street.” Sending missionaries
to Africa or Asia remains a need, but a church’s involvement with the least reached can start with noticing who’s
“Barriers to the Gospel aren’t all about culture. They’re
also about worldview,” says Denbok. The homeless, international students, immigrants, and First Nations people
all surround Canada’s churches, each with their own
potential barriers – and entry points – to the Gospel. SIM
has missionaries involved with each of those groups,
connecting existing churches to the opportunities.
Women who’ve been illegally trafficked into the sex trade,
which is about 30 percent of all sex workers in Canada,
routinely “feel unaccepted [by the Church] and often for
good reason,” says John Cassells. Cassells, an SIM mis-
sionary, spends most of his time coaching churches on how
to grow in their “capacity to provide a safe and healing
environment” for women freed from the sex trade. Barriers
like “crippling fear and anxiety” or appearance and behav-
iour “outside of social norms” keep them from experien-
cing church community. When supported well, however,
these women can thrive in both life and faith.
Thirty SIM Canada field missionaries like Cassells and
Chung work in Canada, passionate about helping Christians learn to recognize and cross worldviews in their
neighbourhoods and workplaces. The first step is to carefully exegete the neighbourhood around a church. This is
a discovery process – finding who God has strategically
After that consultation SIM offers a partner – one of its
field missionaries who have experience crossing culture
and worldview to share the good news where Christ isn’t
known. This field missionary acts as a coach – training
emerging leaders as they build new cross-cultural/class
ministries based on the new picture of the neighbourhood’s
needs and the church’s overall vision. It’s a process that
releases fresh leadership within the church and results in
new ministry that’s relevant to a church’s neighbourhood.
SIM Canada has 124 years of experience in sending
missionaries cross-culturally to over 70 different countries.
As Canada increasingly becomes a more diverse,
post-Christian society, those years of experience become
vital to helping Canadian churches serve their changing
“If we do not reach out to the communities God is bringing to Canada as our neighbours,” says Chung, “we lose the
chance to obey the Great Commission here and now!”
Not just beyond,
Helping churches reach their
By Sarah Kay
A MESSAGE FROM SIM CANADA
To find out more about SIM Canada, visit their website www.SIM.ca
SIM Canada field missionaries John Chung and John Cassells
coach Canadian churches on reaching people in the varied ethnic
communities that surround them.