The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has an outreach program called Send Cities. “It’s been said if you reach the cities, you’ll reach the nations.” With 83 percent of the population now living in metropolitan areas, the major population centers in North America are vital mission fields for kingdom growth and influence.
NAMB has prioritized its work in the cities with the greatest spiritual need and potential influence throughout North America and can be seen here on the https://www.namb.net/send-cities/ web site.
One of those Send Cities is Vancouver, Canada. IESBA Director of Missions Deryl Lackey and several association Pastors and their wives were the guests of NAMB’s Send City Program to visit Vancouver and see how the program was working as well as getting to meet a number of Church Plant Pastors.
The population of Vancouver exceeds 3-million 419-thousand people. Only three percent are associated with an evangelical church. Moreover, 41% are unaffiliated with any religious body. And sadly, there is only one Canadian National Baptist Convention (CNBC) church for every 44,995 people there in Vancouver. (NAMB Statistics) BY contrast, in the Los Angeles, California metro area there are an estimated 10-million people with one Southern Baptist church for every 16,833 people. And while this is not a great number, it demonstrates how unchurched the Vancouver area is.
How important is Outreach? Well I would say that it is very important since all four Gospels and the book of Acts mention the Great Commission as it’s called in some form or another.
Matthew 28:18-20…”And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Mark 16:15-17…”And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Luke 24:46-47…”Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
John 20:21…”So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
Acts 1:8…”But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
This is a job that continues from generation to generation through the years until all the world has had an opportunity to hear the message of the saving grace and salvation of Jesus Christ.
As previously stated, we met with several replant Pastors there in Vancouver and would like to share a bit of what we learned.
Let’s begin with Pastor Josh Arrington from North Texas. He and his family have been in Vancouver for seven years. Their church is called Church on the Rock and is located in the community of Pitt Meadows, on the eastern side of Vancouver. They have also been successful in helping to plant other churches in neighborhoods around the area.
Church planter Pastor Shaun Lynch and his family moved from Texas to Vancouver in 2015. They work with Church on the Rock and minister in the community of Maple Ridge
Another Pastor planting from Church on the Rock is Austin Cooper and his family, originally from Weatherford, Texas where he and his wife Ashley served at Greenwood Baptist Church. They arrived in Vancouver in August 2016 and have planted a church in the community of Port Coquitlam.
Pastor Rafael Araujo came to Vancouver from Rio de Janeiro Brasil [sic] by way of Argentina. Both Raffy and his wife Sarah spent their young adult lives serving with Youth with a Mission ministries in rural Argentina. Raffy also developed and directed a biblical seminary school for rural pastors in southern South America. He and his wife have also served in Chile, Venezuela, and Uruguay. His calling to Vancouver is to reach people from South America who speak Spanish and South American Portuguese. His church is Burnaby Born Again in the community of Burnaby.
Another Pastor, Shahid Kamal and his wife worked in their native Pakistan for Campus Crusade for Life for 20 years. They were forced to flee their home when the government raided their residence and took Pastor Shahid’s wife and children into custody at gunpoint. He was out of town at that time and was forced to remain hidden as they worked to free his family. When that was achieved, they fled first to Turkey than to Toronto, Canada all the while working and relying on the Lord. After serving in Toronto for four years, the Lord pressed on their hearts to move to Vancouver to minister to South Asians there. So with little more than a car and trailer full of belongings, they set off for Vancouver where they planted last year, the first Canadian National Baptist Convention, Puniabi, Hindi and Urdu Church.
We also met with Victor Thomas who with his wife are from South Africa and have been ministering in Vancouver since 2007. They minister to families and students that work around and attend the university adjacent to what is called UniversCity. Victor and his wife Candice have through the help of the Lord planted four additional churches.
Steven Gee is a church replanter in Vancouver interestingly enough called Immanuel Baptist Church. It was started in 1957 by German immigrants and was diminishing badly when Steven was called. He and his wife are from Texas.
Nathan and Lindsey Ammons are a young couple from…Texas who arrived in Vancouver last year to plant a church in and serve the community of the Olympic Village. Many of the condos and apartments now housing regular people were home to hundreds of Olympic Athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympics there.
Mark 16:15…”And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Dr. J Vernon McGee wrote this in his commentary regarding Mark 16:15; “This has been a gospel of action. Now He’s telling them to get into action! They are to go. And, by the way, He is saying to us today that we should be men and women of action for God. What are you doing today to get out the Word of God? That is our business, friend. You should be having some part in getting the Word of God out today.”
To find out how you or your church can be involved in supporting the “Send Cities” program, you can go to this address; https://www.namb.net/