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Canadian CRCs Encouraged by Church-planting Meeting

MosaicHouse Church in Edmonton, Alta., values multicultural worship and is planting a new congregation every five years.
Still frame from a 2017 Resonate Global Mission video introducing MosaicHouse

More than 60 Christian Reformed ministry leaders, local church leaders, and members met virtually Jan. 27 to hear and discuss stories and strategies of church planting in Canada. Hosted by the Canadian Ministry Board and supported by staff from Resonate Global Mission and Thrive (the CRC’s congregation-focused ministry agency), participants heard stories of outward-focused churches in four different Canadian cities and then discussed how they might apply these ideas to their local contexts.

Greta Luimes, chair of the Canada Ministry Board (formerly Canada Corporation of the CRCNA), opened the virtual gathering, “Our hope and prayer is that each of us will leave here today feeling inspired and thankful for what God is doing across our country.” The board hosted the meeting as part of ongoing Canada-wide conversations between the board and Christian Reformed constituents in Canada.

Related: Canada Corp of the CRCNA Calls for More Canada-wide Conversations (July 27, 2022)

The first story was a video from MosaicHouse Church in Edmonton, Alta. Victor Ko, lead pastor and church planter, shared about how his church is planting a new church every five years. In his video, Ko spoke about how Edmonton is a diverse city with over a million people, and only 6% of them are professing Christians. He said, “Trust, obey, and work hard because Jesus is worthy and the people need Jesus.”

Leah DeVos was on the call and shared the second story. DeVos is from The Village Church in Thorold, Ont., and spoke about the impact that “Dinner Church” and “Party in the Park” have had on their community. Dinner Church is focused on sharing the love of Christ over a meal. During a Dinner Church people eat together, study a devotional, and pray with one another in someone’s home. Party in the Park is a meal hosted by the church in a nearby park, welcoming members from the community and international students attending local colleges or Brock University. These ministries have led some new attendees to The Village Church, including some baptisms. DeVos said, “Doing these kinds of intentional ministries are a lot of work, but it's really cool to see how Christ works through them, and how he brings people to himself.”

The third story was a video from Forest City Community Church in London, Ont. Their story focused on how Bethel Christian Reformed Church joined and relaunched with Forest City Community Church.

Related: Stories of Renewal: Christian Reformed Churches Seeking Regeneration (Nov. 29, 2019)

The final story was from Covenant CRC in Winnipeg, Man. Pastor Ben Verkerk and Marcelo Viana, a pastor planting Amber Church, a congregation of primarily first-generation immigrants to Canada, shared about working together. Through connecting with Verkerk, Amber Church was able to move out of Viana’s home and to rent out the Immanuel Christian School chapel for worship. Amber Church and Covenant CRC are now working closely to learn from each other and grow together. Verkerk said, “Church planting is an act of faith. You just have to step out in faith—1000 little steps of faith.”

Kevin DeRaaf, director of Resonate Global Mission, shared an encouraging closing comment in the final discussion of the two-hour meeting: “The narrative that we've been living into has tended to be a narrative of decline … (but) the narrative of the church worldwide is not a narrative of decline. We get to participate in what God is doing all around the world, which is an amazing work of growth.”

Luimes said that there are plans for more meetings like this in future across the whole denomination.

“Share the gospel, live it missionally, and plant new churches” is one of the four milestones of the CRCNA’s ministry plan, Our Journey 2025, which the Council of Delegates has proposed to extend to 2030. Synod 2023 adopted a resolution to address membership decline in the CRCNA.

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