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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | NOVEMBER 2021 EDITION
The State of Evangelism in the Church in Canada
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
Lest We Forget
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Published September 2021



An overview and commentary on this new report

"As an organization dedicated to equipping churches to evangelize, ALPHA Canada is concerned that 66 per cent of Canadian church leaders do not see evangelism as a priority,” shared Shaila Visser, National Director for ALPHA Canada in an interview with Christian Life in London’s Marilynn Vanderstaay.

ALPHA Canada, in partnership with the Flourishing Congregations Institute, (Ambrose University, Alberta), released the results of a study: The State of Evangelism in Canada at the virtual Life Shared Summit (click here for full report) on September 9.

The Study’s findings offer an important pulse-check on Canadian Christian leaders at a time of global events such as the COVID 19 pandemic and lockdowns, wars, civil unrest, numerous natural disasters. As these stressful factors are taking their toll on the psyches and spirits of both Believers and nonbelievers, too many practicing Christians in Canada do not feel a strong need to share their faith with others.

And why should they? Of the 2000 Canadian church leaders from all Christian denominations across Canada studied:
  • only 47 per cent believe that evangelism is central to their church’s approach to discipleship, and
  • only 55 per cent believe that prayer is central to evangelism.

The report is not all doom and gloom. Ageing generations including millennials may have lost their first love for Jesus, or perhaps never experienced it. However, seven in 10 Generation Z’s, 24 years and younger, believe that sharing their faith is an important part of following Jesus.

So, what can be done to change those statistics and bring them back into line with making Jesus’ last command first in the lives of church leaders and Believers? Matthew 28:19 AMP “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Interestingly, the report also found the more of a priority a congregation reportedly gives to evangelization, the more likely respondents and their congregations are to adopt beliefs or practices that are more evangelistic in scope.

The report includes a detailed solution that takes the Church and Believers to its original beginnings of evangelism and discipleship. From defining the randomness of the definition of discipleship to practices that enhance spiritual growth, the report transforms into a how-to manual of discipleship. Church leaders and congregations can use to define and detail their own plans for evangelism and discipleship.

In the same vein ALPHA Canada offers another report The Priority and Practice of Evangelism: Canadian Church Leader Perspectives in 2021. “We want to provide you with the best resources to equip your churches to serve together and share the gospel in your community. The report was written to help you frame a conversation around evangelism at your church,” says Shaina.

ALPHA equips and serves the Church in its mission to help people discover and develop a relationship with Jesus. For more than 30 years, ALPHA has worked effectively across every major denomination, and culture worldwide. ALPHA is offered as an 8 to an 11-week course that creates a friendly, judgment-free environment for people from every background to encounter Jesus, hear the gospel and freely ask questions about faith. Over one million people in Canada have experienced ALPHA, and millions more in over 100 countries and over 100 languages around the globe.

The ALPHA sessions are designed to engage conversation. They explore the big issues of life and faith and unpack the basics of Christian belief, addressing questions like “Who is Jesus?”, “Why and how do I pray?” and “How does God guide us?” Some weeks the session begins with a testimony relevant to the theme such as how a couple came to know Jesus.

While group participation is encouraged it is not mandatory. The ALPHA concept is to give participants, Believers and seekers, a fun, relaxed experience every week while exploring the meaning of life and getting to know Jesus more through solid teaching and friendly discussion.

Small group ALPHAs often run alongside a centralized ALPHA in the church and become a part of the church’s small group ministry when the ALPHA has ended. These new small groups consist of mature believers, people new to the faith, and those still exploring faith.

In addition to churches, ALPHAs are hosted in a variety of locations in small groups in homes to medium and large groups in churches, workplaces, universities, prisons and anywhere an interested group and leader are comfortable. With the advent of the COVID pandemic ALPHA is now available online.

There is no charge to participate in an ALPHA course. The hosting locations can be churches, homes and workplaces sometimes the group will share a meal before or after the meeting.

ALPHA courses are nondenominational and are available throughout the year through a variety of churches in London.

  • Gateway Church located on 890 Sarnia Road is presently hosting ALPHA online. Phone 519-473-2804 or email office@wearegateway.ca
  • Forest City Community Church hosts ALPHA courses throughout the year. ALPHA online and in person sessions start Wednesday, October 6. In person sessions will provide a meal each week and is offering childcare. For more information or to register at go to https://www.fccc.ca/ or 519-652-9363.

ALPHA CANADA is adding to its resources, An ALPHA youth and a full length ALPHA THE MOVIE are now available.

For more information go to ALPHA Canada https://alphacanada.org

To find an ALPHA session close to you phone 1-800-743-0899 or email office@alphacanada.org

Shaina Visser is National President of ALPHA Canada has spent her career studying and implementing the importance and dynamics of discipleship. In 2021 she participated in publishing Signs of Life: Catholic, Mainline, and Conservative Protestant Congregations in Canada. The book deals with three elements necessary for congregation life to flourish. These include organizational elements of self-identity, leadership, innovation, and structure and process, internal factors of discipleship, engaged laity, hospitable community, and diversity, and outward dynamics of neighbourhood involvement, partnerships, and evangelism.






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