At the northernmost part of North America lies Canada. Its southern neighbor is the United States, and the two countries share the world’s longest border. Canada consists of 10 provinces and three territories extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward to the Arctic Ocean. Canada is a member of the 16-nation Commonwealth of Nations, with Queen Elizabeth II serving as sovereign head. Canada is officially bilingual, with English and French as its two official languages. As one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, Canada has added to its aboriginal inhabitants (First Nations peoples) through large-scale immigration from many countries. About four-fifths of the population live within 100 miles of the United States border.
With the early attempts of Europeans to colonize Canada, Roman Catholicism and the Church of England (Anglican) attempted to replace indigenous spirituality. Roman Catholicism remains the dominant religion of Canada. Protestant denominations combine to serve as the second-largest religious bloc. However, with recent immigration, over 100 religions of the world have found acceptance within a tolerant Canadian society. What is most unsettling is the secularization of society resulting in over 20 percent of Canadians claiming no religious affiliation.
In 1950, the Lord directed Harry and Anne Thibideau to British Columbia, a multiethnic and fast-growing province. The Thibideaus started a Sunday School in the town of Terrace and later built a church. As more missionaries arrived, churches were started in Quesnel, Merritt, and Fernie.
Church planting spread across Canada’s provinces and reached Quebec in 1960, when Leigh and Carol Adams began a church-planting ministry in Beauport, a suburb of Quebec City. They were soon joined by Jessica Minns and Jan and Alice Gazdik, who had previously served in Chad and France, respectively. The Adamses also began a Campus Bible Fellowship ministry that supported their church planting.
Baptist Mid-Missions is currently involved in multiple Canadian provinces, and these ministries encompass church planting, church development, native ministries, Christian publications, Campus Bible Fellowship International, and Jewish ministries. The overall number of missionaries in Canada has been declining in the last two decades.
It is a challenge to take an exclusive gospel to an inclusively minded populace. Many do not know what a Baptist is, and being an independent Baptist in Canada increases the misunderstanding. Church planting within the cities of Canada is expected to be slow and expensive. Reaching smaller communities comes with the added concerns of loneliness and a lack of services or conveniences. Distances between like-minded churches are often hundreds of miles. Fellowship is difficult to find and costly to maintain.
Despite the obstacles, the multicultural mosaic of Canada offers boundless innovative means for reaching people arriving from countries encircling the globe. Many cities in Canada have no independent Baptist churches. Because local churches are the framework for ministries of all types, Baptist Mid-Missions is looking for new missionaries to begin innovative church-planting works and to expand collaborative ministries into provinces and territories not entered previously for the glory of God.
Campus Bible Fellowship International missionaries and missionaries who can use aviation to plant churches in remote areas could also be greatly used in Canada.