for lost people. As a result, our
outreach is bold and we are not
intimidated by political correctness
– this is another strength we bring
to partner with established churches. We need to take the great commission seriously, so let’s go out
TIM: What kind of relationship would you
like to have with established churches?
DC: We want to work with established churches as mutual partners.
Diaspora churches and established
churches are both the Church. Instead of thinking along denominational lines and ministry models,
let’s see ourselves as different parts
of the body – we need and can
benefit from one another. We want
more than just a meeting. We
would like to fellowship together
and learn from each other. We hope
that over time established churches
will come to understand the way
we minister to specific cultures, the
needs we have and the gifts we
bring to the Church as a whole.
TIM: What are some of the challenges
you face as diaspora churches?
DC: In our experience, when we
have approached established
churches for help or partnership,
we have found a lack of interest or
have been seen as an interruption
to their plans. Other times, estab-
lished churches we have encoun-
tered have not necessarily thought
about working with others like us.
And even when we have found
churches willing to partner, we
were mostly seen as a rental oppor-
tunity. We understand that true
collaboration and partnership will
require creative thinking about the
ways we offer our resources sacrifi-
cially to each other.
Some of our other challenges are
logistic. As new immigrants, we are
not all familiar with how to access
or understand different resources
in the Canadian context – things
like licenses and denominational
distinctions. This might mean being willing to partner with us
without demanding membership
until we are sure of our theological
and organizational alignment. We
don’t know what we don’t know,
and we would really appreciate if
established churches would take
the initiative to help us navigate
our new surroundings.
TIM: What are some of the gifts you
bring to the Canadian Church?
DC: Our unique perspective as
intercultural people is a gift for the
Church. We greatly value our free-
dom to worship in Canada because
some of us have experienced perse-
cution while living in other parts of
the world. We know that the free-
“I have never met anyone – and
I have been in Canada seven
years now – not one church
leader who has been thinking,
praying or planning to reach
—PAS TOR ALEX (NO T HIS REAL NAME) IS AN EASTERN EUROPEAN CHURCH
PLAN TER IN TORON TO, PASSIONATE TO BRING MUSLIMS TO CHRIST. WHILE
HE AND HIS SMALL CONGREGATION LONG TO BRING THEIR CULTURAL
COMMUNI T Y TO FAI TH, THEY STRUGGLE TO PAY THE REN T FOR A WORSHIP
SPACE AND FEEL ALONE WI TH LI T TLE TO NO SUPPOR T FOR THEIR CALL TO
MISSION IN THE CI T Y.
A closer look at the
We don’t know how many diaspora
churches are operating in Canada.
Many of these churches are
invisible to the general population
because they don’t connect with
existing Canadian networks, don’t
have church buildings, and/or draw
from specific people groups. An
individual or family may come to
Canada for evangelistic purposes, or
for a separate purpose and plant a
church when they see the need.
The TIM Centre has held over
a dozen events for new Canadian
church planters since 2012, and
have met with dozens of different
new Canadian church planters. At
one TIM event there were church
planters who spoke 18 different
languages (including Russian,
Swahili, Kataho, Punjabi and
The TIM Centre roundtable with various members of the diaspora church working in Toronto.