Oh, Canada?

Well, it’s July 1st again. Happy Birthday Canada!

Many across our country will celebrate with parades and fireworks. If you’re anything like me, the celebrations will be joined by a growing wonder of what’s next for our country. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the changing culture and the church’s role in a nation. The 2011 Canadian census reported that 67% claimed some Christian affiliation and about 7% identified as Evangelicals. 23% found no religious identity. That 23% consist of both ‘Nones’ and ‘Dones’ – people who have never had a religious affiliation or who have walked away from the church. ‘Dones’, in particular, take faith seriously but can’t find a home and choose to exclude themselves.

The New Leaf Network (a group of Canadian church planters and ministry starters) estimates that the 2021 census data will show that Evangelicals in Canada are holding steady, but that the ‘Nones’ and ‘Dones’ are now the largest single group in Canada – 40% or more of the population. I expect the number that say they are affiliated with Christianity to drop below 50%. If you feel like Canada is changing because Christianity in Canada is changing, you’re right. For the first time in Canadian history, we are the minority.

Numbers and statistics can feel artificial, but the reality of what they represent is now impacting our daily lives. So, what can we do about it? There will be plenty of questions to ask, and maybe times of mourning, but on Canada’s Birthday I’ll choose to celebrate. Here are five things you can celebrate this Canada Day – I encourage you to choose one that speaks to your heart the most.

1. We are Kingdom Citizens First
Our primary citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:30) and we are called to make disciples of all nations, not to make nations of disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). As a born-again believer my first call is to be filled with the Spirit and to be a representative in this world until I am called beyond death, or until our Lord returns and unites heaven and earth forever. Romans 13 reminds us that God is sovereign over all. This is our great hope, and it’s the only reason we can celebrate the other points below.

2. Embrace the Wilderness

If the changing landscape gives you anxiety, ask God what He wants you to do next. Throughout the Bible, the desert or wilderness is a place God called people to test them and prepare them for the next journey. The House of Israel needed to go through the wilderness before they could enter the Promised Land. Even our Saviour was called into the desert for 40 days before beginning ministry. Embrace the season, enter into prayer and ask God what He wants to do next – it’s the perfect time to plan something new.

3. Celebrate Your Family
Good government begins with the family, and the family is still the most important building block of a thriving nation. From the teaching that a husband and wife represent Jesus and the church (Ephesians 5:25) to the command to ‘Honour thy father and mother’ (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:2), the family is central in God’s plan for order. Our families all have issues (we are human) but find the good stuff to share and SAY IT LOUD. If you don’t have a biological mom, dad, brother or sister to celebrate, find a spiritual brother or sister in the church to share with.

4. Celebrate Your City
Jeremiah 29:11 is a popular verse to memorize as an affirmation of God’s favour in our lives. However, all of chapter 29 is good instruction for us to be good citizens wherever God puts us. Jeremiah 29:7 says, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Celebrate good things about Mississauga (or the city where you live). Find a way to make it a better place. Plant community gardens. Reach out to neighbours. Invite them to your porch or table. Commit yourself to being present and busting the cultural idol of productivity. Be the representative of Jesus to the people around you.

5. Celebrate Your Country

Go ahead. Maybe there are some scary things but celebrate the good. Join the parade and light those fireworks. Make food and invite the neighbours. Again, Romans 13 reminds us that God is still in control and appoints our authorities. Live for Christ and pray for our leaders.

Personally, I want to celebrate the church across Canada this year. There are cool things happening on the frontiers with church plants (our own Arabic group included). There are new expressions of art and music that are coming forward. Below are two playlists of music from Canadian worship leaders and churches. For me, these serve as a celebration and an extended prayer for the church in Canada. I hope they bless you.



Happy Canada Day City Centre!
Paul Alli
(Director of Ministry Development)


“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

We have become so accustomed to accepting apathetic behaviour that it’s now more common to be under-served in most endeavours of life.  When was the last time you walked away from a service situation and thought to yourself, “Wow, that was pleasant!”  From simply booking appointments, checking out of a business or eating at a restaurant, people seem bored to death.  Because they are.  True zest for life comes from knowing Jesus and growing in Jesus. 

Remember that He said He came to do more than just forgive us our sin.  He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). Abundant life may be described as many things, but boring isn’t one of them.  I remember a time when my batteries ran low, dangerously low.  So, I set out to search the Bible for any keys on how to get my zeal back.  I learned several important lessons, not the least of which is that, God’s character is defined as “zealous.”  One of the passages that stood out to me was Isaiah 59:17 where God is described as “wrapping himself in zeal as a cloak.”

Boredom, laziness or indifference is a deeper problem than most assume.  It’s a matter of character.  When a person is apathetic, it signals greater personal crisis than most would assume.  At some level they have become weary of life.  They have lost hope.  Psychologists warn us that “indifference” can be masking passive aggressive pain.  The person who acts bored with the beautiful gifts of life is expressing an emotional ache in their soul. 

People with enthusiasm for life are increasingly rare.  But those who are, bring great hope to the rest of us.  AND it’s not just a personality trait.  I know people of all makes and models who evidence joy, zeal, and enthusiasm for life.  Make note this coming week in Mississauga how few people smile at one another.  It’s hard enough to get people to speak to each other let alone smile.  There is an evident lack of joy in our world. 

Let me transition to the most important area of life that requires your best effort; your faith in Jesus.  If an athlete can bring high levels of commitment to their sport, why can’t Christians bring more?  If an entrepreneur can bring great sacrifice to the table, why shouldn’t Christians bring more?  If an entertainer is willing to lay it all on the line to climb to the top of their profession, how much more the Christian?  That’s the issue, isn’t it?  It’s because athletes, salesmen, and entertainers really love what they do. 

Jesus is described in the New Testament as our “life.”  He is the source of life and the strength of life.  As a point of fact, Christians bring doubt upon their true commitment to Him when they coast through their Christian life with a half-hearted attitude.  If you coast, you’re toast. 

We are all weary from the last two years of crisis upon crisis in our world.  So, rest, pace yourself, heal up, but for goodness sake don’t become bored, checked-out and indifferent to Jesus.  If you coast, you’re toast. 

Join me at one of our Sunday morning services (9AM or 11AM) to fan the flames of your passion for the Lord.  He is stoked about hearing from you.  He is waiting to receive your heart-felt, impassioned worship.  If you coast, you’re toast. 

Agape church family,
Pastor Deric