Evangelicals, who have been active in Canada for more than the 150 years of Canadian Confederation,
have recently been reflecting on
who they are now in the Canadian
context and where they’re heading
in the future.
To gain a better sense of what
Evangelicals are thinking, especially
about how God is leading the
Church in Canada, The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada recently
hosted a series of Canadian
Evangelicals Forum events with
partner groups across the country.
The first forum (Toronto,
June 2016) gathered leaders from
Ontario and Quebec for two days.
Several of the themes articulated
by the first participants were
echoed by those in later forums.
These themes included:
• The word “Evangelical” means
many different things to different
• Evangelicals experience many
societal pressures, many of which
put them in a minority position
within the broader Canadian
• Although the Church’s mission to
preach the gospel and serve out
of Jesus’ call to follow Him has not
changed, it is being practised in
some new ways.
• Ho w Evangelicals position
themselves in relation to
Canadian culture affects ho w they
carry out this mission.
• Working intergenerationally and
interculturally is increasingly
important. Collaboration is vital
to effective mission.
• Developing spiritual postures
of trust and listening to God is
foundational to the future of the
Church in Canada.
While all locations echoed these
themes in various ways, each had
its own emphasis as well.
For instance, participants at
Crandall University in Moncton,
N.B., spoke of the value of
working with people of other
faiths and secular groups when
trying to address pressing
In Burnaby, B.C., where the
forum was held with Outreach
Canada, ethnic diversity among
Evangelicals was noted, as was
the need to figure out how to talk
about ethics and morality in the
Participants in the Calgary
forum, hosted by Ambrose
University, discussed evidence
of fragmentation among
Evangelicals. The question was
raised, “Do we want to stay
divided? Or work on what binds
In Manitoba, those who
gathered at Providence College
& Seminary highlighted the
Indigenous Peoples component
of the evangelical Church and
also noted strong resonance with
Christians “outside our set” such
as Roman Catholics.
The EFC also held a second
forum in Toronto with Lausanne
Movement Canada and Tyndale
Intercultural Ministries Centre, an
effort to include more immigrant
and new Canadian church leaders.
A major emphasis there was the
need to recognize the hearts of
many young people are open
to the gospel, even while their
hearts are being sought by
those promoting secular and
Forum participants in all places
expressed appreciation for the
opportunity to talk with others
about their concerns and hopes
for the future of evangelicalism
in Canada. They are also looking
forward to some form of follow-up, beyond receiving notes from
Such follow-up will begin as
leaders affiliated with the EFC
gather in October to study a
report on the forum outcomes,
and discuss implications for future
mission and ministry development. Resources based on their
work will likely be produced for
church leaders across the country.
What were the key takeaways
from all these forums?
Evangelicals who talk about the
future exhibit a deep trust that
the work of Jesus undertaken by
Christians in Canada will always
be sustained by God, because
God’s presence in the world will
never be overcome. In prayerful
reliance on the Holy Spirit,
Canadian Evangelicals can count
on new ministry paths unfolding
for them, even as the context
for that ministry shifts from one
generation to the next.
With this kind of confidence,
we can celebrate Canada’s 150th
with joyful anticipation of exciting
and fruitful years to come. /FT
Overview of the
BY AILEEN VAN GINKEL
COVER STORY: CANADA 150
Participants at the March 2017 forum at Providence College & Seminary, Man.
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger (centre) at the March forum in Manitoba.