Recapturing the Zeal

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Last December I took a group of 12 Canadian pastors down to Willow Creek in Chicago for a week of mentoring. On our last day we were able to huddle up with Bill Hybels for a Q&A session, and it was in that setting that a pastor from Edmonton asked a question which would spark a new day for The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada.

“Bill,” he began, “What do you see in the North American church that causes you greatest concern?”

Without hesitating Bill shot back, “The church in North America has lost its zeal for evangelism.”

In one sentence Bill was able to articulate a concern that has been gnawing at me for years. And in conversation with Canadian church leaders from coast to coast I’ve been hearing the same thing over and over: the Church, while making many great strides in many areas, seems to have lost its sense of urgency around evangelism.

Seeking to draw attention to this trend, The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada has partnered with our friends at Power to Change to bring Erwin McManus to Canada to explore the openness to the gospel in this country.

Erwin will be presenting his findings during a Canada-only session at this year’s Global Leadership Summit, but today I want to give you a sneak peak as to what this unique session will be all about.

Erwin McManus

The good news? Canadians have never been more open about their desire to address deep spiritual longings.

I believe we are about to see a renewal in intentional spiritual conversations that will lead to an explosion of evangelism. I can’t wait to see what God has in store.

What do you think it will take for the Church in Canada to recapture its “zeal for evangelism”?

the author

Scott Cochrane


  1. I think it will take a mighty movement of the Holy Spirit, and powerful recommittment of Christians and Churches to new levels of faith. And despite what everone seems to be saying, the church is growing, and level of zeal is rising.

    I think we need to start really living our christian faith, and connecting in prayer to God. When we revived our own faiths, then I think that liked minded individuals need to come together and create a new vision of evangelism.

    Today’s new evangelism has to be non-confrontational, highly accepting, more exploratory (meditative, mystic, spiritual, mythos), and much more scientific. Ask the average Joe or Susan on the street what they think of when they think of Christians, you get stero type of anti-science, anti-logic, narrow-minded, judgmental group of people. I love what Bill Hybel has done with leadership conference, respecting and accepting a wide spectrum of Christians and secular persons to the leadership summit. I have no trouble recommending the Willow Creek leadership summit to my non-christian friends. It is dynamic, its diverse, its professional, and it has a core of Christian values, belief, witness and yes even evangelism. I believe that if non-christians were to get involved in leadership conference, listen, participate, that many of them would be encouraged, start to engage, learn more about Christian values, and beliefs, and as they experience this, grow closer to the Christian faith.

    How many Christians would rate the intensity of their Christian faith as 10/10? Are the bulk of those in Church, really spirit lead? Do the people in the Church even know what the Gospel is anymore? Folks in the church are very confused about what to do about other faiths. Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Bahai, and so on. Our vision of the gospel has to grow up enough to respectfully, politely, openly, with humility engage a secular and multi-faith culture. Our bible knowledge in average church is terrible — lack of knowledge of when bible was written in what languages, by what peoples, in what cultural and historical situations, and how Christian church has developed and grown over the centuries. It is sad state of affairs when many of non-christians know more about the Christian faith than those in the church.

    I think we need to challenge ourselves to radical love, to charity, to greater vision for the world, to higher levels of compassion and assistance, to up the effort another notch. Put it all together, solid christian knowledge, spirit lead church, compassionate church, a church with vision, a knowledgable and open church, and spirit will rest upon us and the zeal will rise.

  2. McManus will do Canada only session – so we’ll be hearing a different session than the one he does at Willow?

    Will this be the one they show at the GLS later in Oct in places like Quebec?

    Do you know if it will be in the DVD set?

    Sounds like an interesting thing – glad to hear their will be a CND content focus for part of this.

  3. What do you think it will take for the Church in Canada to recapture its “zeal for evangelism”?

    Church needs to understand how to evangelize in today’s world. It present methods are actually not bearing much fruit, driving folks away from the faith. Lack of success has turned folks zeal off.

  4. David,
    Erwin McManus is not part of the U.S. GLS lineup. His session will only be shown to our Canadian Summit audience; day two will start 30 minutes earlier than the U.S. schedule to accommodate it.

    Willow U.S. produces the DVD sets (Team Edition) and as this is a supplemental session for Canada, it will not be included in the Summit 2010 Team Edition DVD set. However, it will be made available separately for purchase.

    The Fall GLS event will likely be showing this session, yes.

    Thanks for your comments. We are continually looking for ways to include more Canadian content in the Summit. Watch for even more next year 😉

  5. Great dialogue. Clifford I love the question about whether the intensity of our faith is a ’10/10′. That speaks to me of authenticity. I believe our non-Christian friends can tell very quickly how real our faith is. And if our faith doesn’t come across as real, the message just won’t connect.

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