Created by on 6/27/2016 8:47:26 PM
Church for a New Generation? Large Canadian
Churches Are Growing, Reaching Young Families, Drawing 1 of Every 8 Protestant
Free report and webinar to highlight the
findings. Download Now (FREE)
On any given weekend, an estimated 300,000 people across
Canada participate in the kind of church that draws 1,000 or more in weekly
attendance. That’s about 1 of 8 people who went to a Protestant church. Even in
cities where sizable portions of the population check “no religion” on their
household surveys, these predominantly evangelical congregations are growing,
reaching out, and focused on serving children and youth.
These breakthrough discoveries come from a first-ever effort
to conduct a national study of the country’s largest-attendance churches, an
initiative sponsored by a large coalition of Canadian scholars and evangelical
ministries, along with the U.S.-based Leadership Network, which does similar
research in its country.
The 12-page, illustrated executive summary is available to
download free at leadnet.org/Canada courtesy of two sponsors, D.L. Deeks
Insurance Services, Inc. (deeksinsurance.ca) and Pushpay (pushpay.com).
Major findings include:
• Canada’s largest Protestant churches range from 1,000 to
almost 10,000 in weekly worship attendance.
• The vast majority (79%) report that they have grown over
the last 5 years.
• Church leaders say that almost a third (29%) of the growth
comes either as new to the Christian faith (16%) or renewed in faith (13%) as
they have returned to Christian belief/involvement after dropping away from a
childhood or earlier-in-life participation in Christianity.
• Just over half (55%) have birthed or planted another
separate congregation in the last 10 years, and another 16% are considering it.
• Four out of 10 (40%) respondents describe their church as
multisite, meaning that they are one church but in two or more different geographic
• These congregations are also racially diverse. In terms of
ethnicity, if multiethnic is defined as a church with no more than 80% of one
race, then 62% of large Canadian churches are multiethnic.
• When asked what they see as the primary advantage of large
churches, survey participants selected most the “ability to provide an enhanced
quality of ministry.” This choice was followed by “opportunity to minister to a
diverse range of people” and “ability to offer diverse forms of ministry.”
• When asked what has led to such growth in these large
churches, many (55%) include “children’s and/or youth ministry” as a factor in
growth, with just over half (51%) affirming “a strong vision and mission” often
personified by “the passion and personality of our senior leader/pastor” (43%).
Another commonly noted factor (35%) is an “emphasis on worship/music.”
• A large percent (83%) say they are “somewhat” or “very”
effective in carrying out evangelism, as people invite others to consider faith
in Jesus Christ.
• The top-named strategies for evangelism begin with “children’s/family/youth
ministries that positively impact the parents.” This is followed by “Alpha
Course,” a discussion-based approach to core questions about practical topics
like faith, the after-life, suffering, and the Holy Spirit.
“The team of co-researchers acted as a true partnership,”
says Dr. Warren Bird, lead researcher. “Each person suggested churches we might
contact, contributed survey questions and critiqued drafts of the survey and
report. Many will be writing follow-up specific-topic reports based on further
analysis of the findings.”
webinar (space limited) with live Q&A available on October 21, 2015, with
recorded version available after that date. See leadnet.org/canada for details.
To dialogue with the research team, contact any of the
people involved: Warren Bird, Ph.D.,
Leadership Network, email@example.com, 845-368-4379 (Lead Researcher); also
Reginald W. Bibby, Ph.D., University
of Lethbridge, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403-329-2558;
Peter Beyer, Ph.D.,
University of Ottawa, email@example.com, 613-562-5800 (1178); Mark Chapman, Ph.D., Tyndale University
College & Seminary, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-226-6620 ext. 2208; Rick Hiemstra, The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada, email@example.com, 613-233-9868 x332; Lorne Hunter, Outreach Canada
Ministries, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-952-0050 ext. 300; Stephen McMullin, Ph.D., Acadia University,
email@example.com, 902-585-2210; Sam
Reimer, Ph.D., Crandall University, Sam.Reimer@crandallu.ca, 506-858-8970
ext: 139; Joel
Thiessen, Ph.D., Ambrose University, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403-410-2000
ext.2979; Peter Schuurman, Ph.D.
candidate, University of Waterloo, email@example.com, 519-822-7177; Shaila Visser, Alpha Ministries Canada,
firstname.lastname@example.org, 604 304 2082 ext. 123; and Michael Wilkinson, Ph.D., Trinity Western University,
email@example.com, 604-888-7511 ext 3832.
About Leadership Network:
Based in Dallas, Texas, Leadership Network is a nonprofit public charity that
fosters innovation movements that activate the church to greater impact through
a variety of programs and resources. For more on Leadership Network, see www.leadnet.org.