It’s a city with streets named after saints and with church buildings around almost every corner, but things are not what they seem.
“Even if it seems like Jesus’ presence is here, it’s not. It’s a religious presence here. His work is not known. His sacrifice is not known. Nobody can explain why Jesus died on the cross. Ninety-five percent have no clue,” says church planter Francois Verschelden, a Montreal native.
Until a few decades ago, the Catholic church was in charge of Quebec’s education system and much of its government. Now, while a majority of its residents still identify as Catholic, that same majority sees no reason for continued observance of those traditions. It is a city filled with churches in a province filled with churches that are all but empty or on the verge of closing. This has all followed what is called the “Quiet Revolution” of the 1960s.
Now the majority-Quebecois population of Montreal and broader Quebec see Catholicism as part of their cultural heritage and nothing more. Canadian National Baptists are praying for and beginning to see breakthroughs thanks to the work of God’s Spirit and to the incredible partnerships offered by partnering churches.
Quebec is 0.5 percent evangelical, and Montreal is 0.7 percent. Miraculously though there have been pockets of openness to church planting efforts. Through Send North America: Montreal, existing church planting efforts are joining more intentionally with Canadian and Southern Baptists to reach the Quebecois—the least-reached people group in North America.