A few years ago, I remember listening to a leadership podcast and the topic was “How Canadian Church is different from that of US”. Even though we are so close to one another geographically, there is a big difference in how the church functions and is viewed. I found the explanation from the podcast intriguing.
The pastor, who came out as the guest in the show, explained that Canada was founded by Loyalists, who were peacemakers in nature. This is the reason Canada dislikes aggressive claims, but likes to accommodate and tends to be liberal. On the other hand, the States were founded by Patriots who were aggressive and enjoys confrontations. This difference plays a considerable role in the different mood toward Christianity in both countries. Because of this, Christianity is not so welcomed in Canadian context. It is reported that only about 7% of Canadians are Christians.
But the show ended with a positive note. If we are intentional, this can actually be a good news because now we have a massive pool of people we can reach out to. Then the question is, “How do we do that in Canadian context?”
I would say simply, “Don’t debate, but demonstrate”. I believe there is a place for healthy public debate, so people can hear each side. But what I am speaking against is debating to win or feel superior in personal relationships. Christianity already has a bad reputation as “narrow-minded” religion. Debate only amplifies that assumption. Modern people are not interested in truth claims. They want to know what works. People hope to see if Christianity works and seeking evidence in Christians’ life. If Jesus really is the Saviour as Christians believe, his Words should work in real life, regardless of time. And they do. Count how many secular leadership books that talk about “servant leadership”, which was presented 2000 years ago by Jesus. It is undeniable that the new leadership paradigm Jesus presented, which made very little sense at first, simply works regardless of time and cultural context.
That’s why house church is great because it gives opportunity to non-Christians how Christian faith works. In our house churches, almost every week there is testimony of answered prayers and many VIPs now unconsciously believe in the power of prayer. Non-Christians are never logically persuaded into believing in God’s existence. It is through demonstration of love through serving and real experience of power through answered prayer. Maybe house church is well suited for Canadians after all.