Outreach Canada was born out of a deep conviction that all people are lost without Christ and that God intends every believer to be involved in making disciples of all peoples in every nation. It was founded as an interdenominational mission that is inter-church in its ministry and international in its vision. OC also aims to cooperate with parachurch organizations and mission agencies in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Our Roots The roots of Outreach Canada were planted initially by a US-based mission, OC International (www.onechallenge.org)--established in 1951 as Overseas Crusades--under the leadership of Canadian-born Dick Hillis and Norm Cummings. They felt compelled by God to do all they could do to ensure that each individual in every nation have the opportunity to respond to the Gospel. Their ministry focus,“to train national leaders for evangelism,” has now been sucessfully developed in more than 24 countries. The strong influence of these roots can be seen in the core vision and ministry emphasis of Outreach Canada today.
Recognizing the need for an autonomous ministry in Canada, the Canadian ministry was incorporated in 1977 as a registered Canadian charity, with the primary goal of an indigenous and strategic ministry to address the needs of the church and unreached people groups in Canada.
Our Growth In 1984, Outreach Canada hosted its first pastors’ conference in Vancouver. This event was instrumental in beginning the dialogue between denominations and among church leaders to clarify needs, identify further research needed, and to articulate shared strategies. Since 1984, OC has expanded its focus to assisting individual churches in revitalization and church health, helping denominations to resource healthy reproducing churches, and aiding churches and mission agencies undergoing leadership transitions.
Research on the church in Canada has been a foundational component of Outreach Canada’s ministry, with demographic trends tracking, customized surveys, community profiles and mapping resources made available to church leaders nation-wide. Resources such as Ministry Fitness Check© and Vision Renewal© emerged from over 20 years of consulting with church leaders, as effective tools to assist churches to assess their individual health and renew their unique visions.
Outreach Canada was also instrumental in the establishment of an intentional nationwide church planting movement (Church Planting Canada formed in 1996) along with a biennial church planting Congress with over 500 church leaders in attendance at each event. Gaining significant momentum, the intentional ministry foci of Conflict Resolution and Leadership Coaching were formally added in 2006, rounding out the ministry services offered to denominations, churches and their leaders.
Our Response Recognizing the changing face of Canada--with increased immigration, urbanization and secularization--the need for new ministry approaches were identified. The housechurch movement filled a gap with a less “institutional,” more relational format for reaching the lost. As well, opportunities to connect with Christian business owners in Calgary desiring to reach out to those in the workplace, motivated the creation of Corporate Chaplains ministry in 2005. Corporate Chaplains now serve client companies in Calgary, Banff and Canmore, with expansion to BC’s Lower Mainland in 2007, and the Ottawa area in 2008.
As part of a global initiative, OC has responded to strategic international needs, contextualizing ministry tools and resources to assist in the areas of church health, conflict resolution and church planting, and since 2005, has deployed resident Canadian team members to various international locations to serve nationals and indigenous leaders.
Since its incorporation as a registered Canadian charity in 1977, OC continues to serve churches and Christian leaders, from many denominations and affiliations throughout Canada and in strategic international locations, to reach and disciple nations for Christ.
Our Connections Outreach Canada retains a fraternal agency relationship with US-based mission organization, OC International, headquartered in Colorado Springs.