Toronto has been in the news lately. Today I’m asking you to continue to pray for this city no matter where you’re from, and it has nothing to do with the news. Here’s why I'm asking you to pray:
- Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America, and the largest in Canada.
- The population of the GTA population is expected to grow to 7.45 million by 2031, with the population of Toronto to grow to 3 million.
- The population of the downtown core has tripled, and is outpacing the growth of the suburbs. Nearly 50,000 condo units have been built, sold and occupied downtown (south of Bloor Street) since 2000. By the end of 2011, more than 90,000 additional condo units had been approved for construction, the majority in the downtown core.
- Many communities lack an evangelical church of any kind.
To reach just an additional 0.5% of the existing population of Toronto, we would need to reach 14,000 people. To reach 0.5% of the Greater Toronto area, we would need to reach at least 28,000 people. That will take a lot of new church plants and revitalized churches. Of course, an additional 0.5% is not enough. We need a lot of workers!
I’ve never been so encouraged by what is happening in Toronto:
- Church planters like Daniel and Mike of Trinity Life Church are planting new churches in the downtown core.
- People like Nathan and Sarah Fullerton, who work with me at Liberty Grace Church, are moving back to the city with a passion for church planting.
- Downtown churches like Grace Toronto continue to grow. Grace is working on planting a new church in the west end.
- C2C, a national church planting network in Canada, has appointed Greg Laing as its Ontario Regional Director. I’ve met with Greg, and I’m encouraged by his passion for raising the capacity for church planting in Toronto.
- I know a growing number of solid, missional pastors of established churches who are serious about their mission to the city.
Toronto is in the news for all the wrong reasons these days. I’m longing for the day that Toronto is in the news because of what God is doing in this city.
I realize that many of you are not in Toronto, but I would appreciate your prayers for this city. Pray that God would raise up new and revitalized churches that would respond to the opportunity in Toronto in obedience.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore spray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to tsend out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38)