Photo: Christ City Church launched on Sunday, September 22, 2013 in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo by Ingo Neufeld of Ingo Design)
Throughout Canada, church planting teams are establishing new churches and fulfilling their passion to help people understand and apply God’s love and teachings.
This is an answer to the prayers of C2C, a Canadian church planting network celebrating the opening of five new church plants this fall. These churches are among 58 churches that have received training or resources through the network.
“We don’t recruit church planters—we pray that God will raise up a movement of church planters in Canada,” says Chris Douglas, C2C regional director in B.C. “It is what God is doing across Canada. We are an instrument God is using.”
The network was started two years ago by the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (CCMBC). It grew out of the church planting ministry started by Mennonite Brethren churches in B.C.
To give more Canadians the opportunity to learn about God’s love and forgiveness, the network works together with other church denominations interested in starting gospel-centred, spirit-led, and mission focused church plants.
“Planting and reproducing churches is one of the best ways to see lives transformed through the power of Jesus Christ,” says Douglas. “What anchors us is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may have different theological perspectives but it is the gospel that holds us together.”
This fall, five church planting couples completed their C2C training. They are now giving leadership to church plants that opened or will be opening in September, October and November.
These couples are Pastor Chris and Yanci McGregor leading City Church, Montreal, Que.; Pastor Brett and Alison Landry leading Christ City Church, Vancouver, B.C.; Pastor Monty and Denise Scott leading Epic City Church, Kelowna, B.C.; Pastor Joe and Heather Haynes leading Beacon Communities, Victoria, B.C., and Pastor Alastair and Julie Sterne leading St. Peter’s Fireside, Vancouver, B.C.
C2C provides structured training and assessment tools, but Douglas says the key component is prayer. “There must be a sense of call—this is what God wants us to do. We can’t overemphasize this enough—the lead component is guidance from the Holy Spirit.”
Following intensive interview processes, church planters enter an apprenticeship program in the city or town of the future church plant. If a decision is made to launch a church plant, the church planting team and church plants continue to receive support and training for several years through leadership teams, mentors and coaches.
The name C2C and the motivation for starting new churches stems from the Bible verse engraved in the arches of the Parliament building in Ottawa—“He shall have dominion from sea to sea (Psalm 72:8).
The name reflects the many goals of the network, including Coast to Coast, Christ to Canada, Communities to Communities, Canadians to Canadians and Churches to Churches.
Existing congregations are invited to support this work through praying, encouraging church planting teams, adopting a church plant, planting a church and providing financial support through the church’s annual budgets or personal financial support.
Gladys Terichow is the staff writer for the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches|