I stood with tears and great emotion the day Southern Baptists voted to accept
an increased responsibility for the spiritual condition and life of Canada by
assigning it to the newly created North American Mission Board.
More than 31 million people, most of them lost (its
estimated that only 6 percent of Canadians know Christ) would now be in the
hearts of Southern Baptists in a more focused way! It was thrilling to me,
because this is the nation where I was born, and for which I and others have
prayed for more than 50 years.
I learned about Southern Baptists in 1951, and Ive prayed ever since that
God would some day lay my nation on the great hearts of a people called
Southern Baptists. I joined my first Southern Baptist church in California in
I saw that Southern Baptists had an unusual heart, and expertise, for
evangelism and church planting. I had never witnessed this before. My heart
longed to be linked with them for my nation.
In the early years, Canada became part of a U.S. state convention and was
served by both the former Foreign Mission Board and the former Home Mission
Board before responsibility shifted to the North American Mission Board.
Canada is a vast nation geographically. It is officially bilingualEnglish
and French. There is uniqueness in the family of nations, and Ive always known
my homeland could make a special contribution to world missions.
Canadian Southern Baptists have begun to evangelize and plant churches.
First the churches were only in the West, but now we have more than 163
churches and mission congregations from coast to coast. Today, the courageous
young leadership of the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists (CCSB) has
responded to Gods clear call to establish 1,000 new congregations by the year
2020. I believe this vision has come about to a large degree by our association
with SBC people and their hearts for church planting. At this time, as they
obey their Lord in this undertaking, the partnership with SBC through NAMB is
Heres how I recently experienced Southern Baptistsdeep interest in
evangelizing Canada. In October 2001 a group of churches in the U.S. each sent
a representative (usually the pastor or Minister of Missions) to Cochrane,
Alberta, where the CCSB offices and seminary are located. They came to sense
and feel the need for planting new churches and to partner with existing
Canadian Southern Baptist churches in that province. This was a great
encouragement. The gathering seemed like the New Testament churches revisiteda
solemn and joyful experience, and we hope the first of many across this vast,
At the heart of our commitment to reach this nation is the seminary, located
in Cochrane, Alberta. More than 100 students from all over Canada, the U.S. and
the world are enrolled in this fully accredited seminary. Dr. G. Richard
Blackaby, our oldest son, is the enthusiastic president, guiding nine dedicated
faculty and staff.
NAMB is crucial to the SBC commitment to reach Canada with the gospel.
Toronto, Ontario, is scheduled as a Strategic Focus City. NAMB is releasing the
full rangeof its expertise, personnel and resources (plus marshaling the same
among associations and state conventions) to partner with Canadian Southern
Baptists in taking the gospel to this multi-cultural city of Toronto.
The Lord has heard the cry of Canada, and He is stirring the hearts and
imaginations of Southern Baptists in the U.S. Many on mission Christians are seeking to pastor
in Canada, do church planting there, complete their seminary training, work on
the university campuses and share Christ with Canadas native and ethnic
peoples. NAMB is a major channel and encouragement in this longed-for moment in
Gods desire for this nation.
This years Annie Armstrong Easter Offering will provide much support for
reaching Canada with the gospel. And decades of prayer, and much anguish, will
be answeredto the glory of God!
The author of Experiencing God, Henry Blackabyis
president of Henry Blackaby Ministries. Visit www.henryblackaby.com for
more information. Bible references are from The New King James
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC