I had the opportunity last week to attend the MOSAIC church planting conference in Toronto as part of my responsibilities to promote the New Living Translation. While I didn't have a lot of free time, I did manage to partially take in two sessions - Rick McKinley (Donald Miller's pastor) and Erwin McManus. These were both interesting sessions in that we heard what these guys are doing in their respective communities (Portland, Los Angeles) and how they are reinterpreting what it means to "do church" in a postmodern era. Call them postmodern, postevangelical, emerging church, or whatever you want, they are doing some interesting things in the name of the Kingdom.
On the downside, most of the discussion (that I heard anyway) centered on inner-city churches, and working with the urban poor. Great stuff, but what about us who live and work in a white collar, middle-class, suburban setting? How do we go about engaging people with the message of Jesus when for the most part, they are happy, satisfied, self-sufficient people? It would seem to me that we too have to conceive of new ways of "doing church" that meets these folks where they are at. This is my struggle...not that I want to plant a church, but I definitely want to be the church in my neighbourhood. I guess that makes me a church plant! I guess that makes all Christ-followers a church plant! Hmmm...now that's something to think about!
Here are some interesting stats I picked up...
Total evangelical congregations in Canada (all denominations): 9,401
Largest denomination: Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada: 1,106 Congregations
Number of people in Canada for each evangelical church: 4,035
Province with the greatest number of churches per capita: New Brunswick
Province with the least number of churches per capita: Quebec