Statistics Canada states that the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, as defined by the Constitution Act, 1982, comprise the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. These distinct groups have unique heritages, languages, cultures.
The Province of Alberta is privileged to have one of the largest, youngest and fastest-growing Aboriginal populations in Canada. Nearly 250,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit people play an important role in the social, cultural and economic fabric of the province. Both Calgary and Edmonton are home to the majority of Aboriginal people in Alberta. In the NWT, over 20,000 persons identified themselves as Aboriginal, accounting for 50% of the Territories’ population count.
The Alberta NWT District recognizes the tremendous need to provide support and resources to those currently ministering the Gospel truth to the Aboriginal community in the District, and then to establish plans for future ministry to the First Nations people. The District leadership is working together with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada International Officers through Mission Canada (create a link at Mission Canada to – http://www.paoc.org/canada/first-nations ) to seek effective methods to bring a destiny directed by the Spirit of God among Aboriginal Canadians.
The ABNWT District Aboriginal Guiding Group, under the District Vision of CP2020 (link to CP2020) is setting a target to plant several Aboriginal focused congregations in the next five years in intentional locations. Over the past two years, the Guiding Group has engaged in strategic relational development with seasoned Aboriginal leaders in Christian Service.
A Missions Canada Priority
Suicide, substance abuse, and hopelessness are only some of the obstacles holding generations of Aboriginal Canadians from finding and fulfilling a destiny directed by the Spirit of God. Aboriginal peoples across Canada urgently need to hear and know the message of love, hope, and healing of Jesus.
Aboriginal Canadians are a priority. Mission Canada is committed to working with Aboriginal leaders to discover new ways to train and equip called leaders. A new generation of equipped Aboriginal leaders will have greater influence in the lives of young people who are the hope of the future. Across Canada, new opportunities are emerging to reach into the farthest areas of our country and into our urban areas where many Aboriginals live today.
There is a vast mission field right here in Canada. What part will you play in God’s story of a people coming to know him?
VISION To impact First Nations, Inuit and Métis with the gospel and to see First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders empowered to coach and provide leadership to current and emerging leadership.
The greatest difference between Aboriginal people and those of other ethnicities is this: while others may eventually blend with mainstream Canadian society over the course of one or two generations, Aboriginals will always – and in fact are encouraged to – retain their culture and values. Aboriginal values of family, land, community and tradition are often at opposite ends of the spectrum from the values of mainstream society. Without compromising truth, Aboriginal leadership in our fellowship embraces these values as a means to fulfill its vision statement.
VALUES – MISSION CANADA FIRST NATIONS EMPLOYS A MINISTRY PHILOSOPHY OF:
- Evangelism Communicating the gospel in a culturally relevant context with an intentional component of discipleship will result in more effective ministry.
- Reconciliation This concept is foundational to the gospel and also evident in Aboriginal culture. Ministerial leadership recognizes the need for reconciliation to take place inside and outside the Christian community.
- Networking of Resources and Partnerships Recognizing that we can’t win Canada alone brings the Aboriginal church – complete with her methods and values – to the same missional table as an equal partner with other Christian organizations within the PAOC.
- Leadership Training
- A great demand for qualified leaders within the Aboriginal community exists. A shortage of leaders results in unstable churches, poor doctrine and ineffective missiology.
- Emerging Leaders
- A new generation of Aboriginals understands issues both past and present. While elders are respected, communities are looking to younger generations for leadership. The church is doing the same.
- Church Planting
- Healthy church plants that will plant other churches are much needed. Many Aboriginal churches have been planted by “white” missionaries, and reflect many of the nuances of a “white” church. If the gospel is going to be perceived as anything other than a “white man’s religion,” Aboriginal churches need to plant churches reflecting Aboriginal culture.
The PAOC is working with Aboriginal leaders to ensure that its structures and resources meet the needs of the diverse Aboriginal population of Canada.
Should you be interested in partnering as a Local Church or as an individual to reach First Nations people groups throughout the Alberta NWT District of the PAOC, we would be delighted to engage you in opportunities for Church Planting, House Churches, Prison Ministry, and through Reserve and Urban outreaches.