“The future of ministry in big cities is small groups of people searching for the well-being of their community and getting involved in their community,” says Bruno Désorcy, the new team leader for Mission Montreal.
Mission Montreal is a new ministry initiative between several Christian Reformed ministries and the Montreal-based ministry Christian Direction. CRCNA partners include Christian Reformed Home Missions, World Missions, the Diaconal Ministries Canada, Classis Eastern Canada, and First CRC of Montreal, Quebec. Through Mission Montreal, the CRCNA and Christian Direction hope to spur spiritual and social transformation in three Montreal neighborhoods.
“Montreal and all of Quebec is extremely secular,” said Bruno. While most people identify themselves as Roman Catholic, “only 2 percent of the population gets together for Sunday morning worship.” Quebecers are not vocally resistant to religion; they just like to keep it separate from their daily lives.
Originally founded in 1967, Christian Direction has sought since the early 1990s to minister to and with community members by offering tutoring services, cooking classes, Bible studies, family mediation and youth intervention programs, neighborhood-wide festivals, and financial stability programs. Christian Direction has also connected with college students attending Concordia University in downtown Montreal. Through it all, Christian Direction has testified to its foundation in Christ.
Now Mission Montreal wants to walk alongside Christian Direction in sharing the gospel in Montreal. Much of the work will build on Christian Direction’s existing ministries in St. Laurent, downtown Montreal, and the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area. These neighborhoods are home to many people who have struggled financially or who are recent immigrants to Canada.
Mission Montreal’s focus is threefold: to build a network of missional communities, invest in campus ministry, and begin ministry among Muslim background immigrants. Bruno is working with missional communities, while Jacynthe Vaillancourt focuses on campus connections. A third person will hopefully be hired by next spring to work with Muslim communities.
Missional communities will be key to Mission Montreal’s development. “A missional community is a group of Christians who get together weekly or biweekly,” said Bruno. “They study the Bible together, pray together and for each other, pray for the shalom of their neighborhood and city, and get involved in serving their neighborhood.” Bruno will nurture these communities through a five-step process based on Jesus’ method of calling and equipping his disciples.
“The more we get involved in the shalom of other people,” Bruno says, the more the city and God’s church will be renewed and restored.
Full of hope and prayer, the CRC and Christian Direction have committed themselves to sharing God’s message of grace in a city in need of him.