Québécois aren't looking for community

The student ministry of Power to Change in Canada is currently pivoting our approach to evangelism, putting more emphasis on relational ministry instead of “random” evangelism in public places (cafeteria questionnaires, large-scale surveys, etc). On the one hand, this is an important and necessary change to our ministry. In the past we have put so much emphasis on randoms that we’ve neglected a relational approach which is often much more effective in the Canadian context.

However, this is a change that gives me a lot of pause in the Quebec context, since to succeed in relational evangelism, we need friendships… and to be honest, I don’t have many.

I’m not the only immigrant to Quebec who will tell you that is extremely difficult to be accepted into the social circle of a Québécois. In general (and yes, this is quite the generalisation), Québécois have all the friends the want. They don’t see the need to make more friends, and to really win their confidence takes ages : years, and not weeks or months like we may see in other Canadian university contexts. That means that the three or maybe four years a student spends at university is generally not long enough to journey with someone all the way to new faith.

What’s more, this means that attracting Québécois to a new community group, which is a classic student ministry method everywhere, is also very difficult.

It took me about ten years of frustration to really catch on that Québécois just aren’t looking for community. At least realising this helps define the challenge we face as missionaries, and why young adults don’t want to get involved or respond to our invitations.

The solution is obviously not clear. But it seems to me that we can be ignorant of a deep need that we have – and community is one of our most fundamental needs. God created us as relational beings, to live in relationship with him and with each other. So, my hypothesis is : even if Québécois don’t want community, community is still the solution to reaching them. Jesus promised us : > “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13 : 34-35

So why do we have so much trouble getting Québécois to join a community? Because Québécois have never seen a real community and so they don’t know that they need it. More on that next time…

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