Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Why the need for a local missionary to Ottawa? Apart from the reality that we recently passed 1 million residents, of which only a sliver could be charitably considered born-again, and aside from the fact that as the capital city of our nation, Ottawa is a uniquely situated city in Canada and on the world stage, I have identified the following issues and opportunities in the city, through personal observation and conversations with leaders around the city. In this series, I'll share some of those observations, describe some opportunities that I see facing the church in Ottawa, and describe the mission initiatives I'll be undertaking by God's grace.
Evangelism: The Work is Massive, the Workers Are Few and Often Lone Rangers
I pray for a movement of evangelism in our city in which every believer in every church is regularly connected to an evangelistic opportunity either through their own church or through evangelistic movements in the city. My observation is that evangelistic fervour is lagging in the churches, with most of the programs and resources focused inwardly, or toward an increasingly irrelevant attractional model of ministry. There are pockets of poor and marginalized people in the city which are not and quite frankly will not be reached unless believers venture outside of the walls of their churches to reach them. The few who do see themselves as evangelists often act as lone wolves. They have a desire to save souls, but are often untrained in theology, ecclesiology, and missiology. Some have reduced the fulness of the great commission to mere evangelism, or never given thought to the full implications of the great commission. They haven’t adequately thought through how to follow-up with those they lead to Christ, and many fall away without being discipled or well-integrated into churches. Some are even distrustful of churches or at least frustrated with the church’s lack of zeal for evangelism or inability to well-integrate the converts sent to them.
There is opportunity for a local missionary team to come alongside local churches to mobilize and equip their members to reach beyond their walls, taking the burden off of already overwhelmed pastors and to build a network of likeminded organizations and churches around evangelism commitments and practices to better aid the assimilation of new converts into churches.
Mission Initiative: Connecting Streams, City Director
Connecting Streams is an evangelistic ministry of Power to Change Canada "equipping and mobilizing the Church to help reach society's marginalized" in the nations capital, and two other cities. They currently have seven projects ongoing in Ottawa, coordinating volunteers from local churches to serve in various outreach activities such as a long-term care facility, a nursing home, a widow-to-widow ministry, a ministry to people transitioning out of prison, etc. I have been hired to transition into the role of City Lead for the ministry in Ottawa. The ministry is currently in a growth mode, yet still in a position of great openness as to how the ministry may develop. It recognizes the need to form better partnerships with their network of churches and do not yet have a substantial plan for follow-up and discipleship. While my primary ministry responsibility in this role is to foster relationships with churches to grow the evangelism network, there is a possibility that Connecting Streams may either become or be able to help foster the emergence of a separate discipleship network (see my next post).
I will be devoting 70% of my time to this mission initiative; about four days a week.
You can watch a video introduction of Connecting Streams below: