When Dan Collison showed us the map, most of it was blank. The colored dots on the map represented a new church plant, or an area where there was an evangelical presence. The map seemed to lack those colored dots because Toronto is – at best – 2.5 percent evangelical. Greater Toronto is home to about nine million people and only 40 Southern Baptist churches.
One year later, I am back in Toronto and I still remember Dan showing us that map. It was hard for me to believe that so many communities in Toronto are without an evangelical witness at all.
This week North Carolina Baptist pastors, Directors of Missions and church leaders are in Toronto with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Office of Great Commission Partnerships for a vision tour. They are here to meet with Dan and other church planters to learn more about Toronto and how they can help get involved.
Toronto is a city that desperately needs the gospel. In Toronto, Muslims outnumber Christians 3 to 1. Most Canadians are two or three generations removed from the church; their parents didn’t think about church and neither did their grandparents. Forty-three percent of Canadians did not attend any religious service in the past year and only 1.8 percent attend an evangelical church.
Toronto is a city that desperately needs the gospel because when the gospel changes this city, it can change the world. Half of Toronto’s population was born outside Canada, and more than 140 languages and dialects are spoken in Toronto.
God is raising up people to take the gospel to Toronto. People like Tim Heerebout, who is seeking to reach the artistic community of Toronto, from musicians to painters to jewelry makers.
God is also working through people like Scott Rourk, who is working with three church plants.
On Tuesday the North Carolina team will meet with more church planters like Rudy Geronimo (listen to an interview) and Arnold Wong (listen to an interview). We met Rudy and Arnold last year and I’m excited to hear how God has worked in their lives since that time.
These faithful church planters and leaders are making headway and seeing fruit, yet so much work remains. They are ready to begin ministry in universities and high-rise apartment buildings, among cowboys and bikers. But they need the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field.
God may be calling your church to partner in Toronto. Will you pray for Toronto? And if God calls you to go and serve in Toronto, will you go?
Learn more about how you can get involved in Toronto by visiting www.ncbaptist.org/toronto.