Who or What is The Wesleyan Church?

The Wesleyan Church of Canada is a Christian denomination which is a valued member of both the North American General Conference, and the International Conference of The Wesleyan Church found in 97 countries. The Wesleyan Church in North America is made up of 24 districts from across Canada and the United States. In North America, 268,000 Wesleyans, on average, gather in person or online each week in 1,540 churches to worship. Globally, more than 382,000 gather each week in approximately 4,302 churches.

In 2021, despite the CoVid pandemic, the Wesleyan church still launched 256 brand new congregations around the world and recorded over 14,000 people coming to faith in Jesus.  Outside of North America, we own and operate a number of hospitals, and 30 Bible colleges.

The Wesleyan denomination is part of the much larger group of “Methodist” and “Holiness” churches which are noted for their belief in God’s ability to transform the hearts and minds of believers. Wesleyans have an exceptionally high allegiance to God’s Word (the Bible) and are orthodox in their beliefs, and conservative in lifestyle practices.  The denomination is best described as an evangelical, Protestant denomination which is committed to: worship, evangelism, Christian discipleship, outreach/community service, fellowship, social justice and compassion ministries.

Who Does The Wesleyan Church Work With?

Wesleyans work in close partnership with such organizations as: World Hope International;  Global Partners; Compassion Canada, the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, and many other missionary, relief and development organizations.  The Canadian church is a registered and federally incorporated charity, and is an affiliate member of the Canadian Centre of Christian Charities, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Wesleyans consider it a privilege to work cooperatively with any and all local, national or international organizations and Christian denominations who are helping to advance the biblical mission and compassion ministries of Christ’s church. Last year Wesleyan churches in North American donated over 10 million in support of cross-cultural missionary and during the war in Ukraine, Wesleyan churches in Canada joined with others around the world to help send close to $11 million in medical and relief supplies to help with the massive exodus of refugees. 

What is The Wesleyan Church Like in Canada?

The Canadian church is vibrant, healthy and growing, and has over 14,000 people who gather weekly in more than 118 churches across the nation.  The denomination is presently organized into two Canadian districts (Atlantic, and Central Canada), and further groups local churches into zones (i.e. Ottawa Valley; Halifax Region; etc.). The national office is found in Sussex, New Brunswick, which works in warm partnership with the great team at the North American headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.

What is the mission, priorities and main strategies of the Canadian Church?

The mission statement of The Wesleyan Church of Canada is: To accelerate the missional impact of The Wesleyan Church across Canada and around the world.  The priorities of the Canadian church are: Church Multiplication; Church Health/Revitalization; Global Engagement; Leadership Development; Ministries of Compassion.  Dr. Elliott, who leads the Canadian national church, has identified four primary strategies he is emphasizing to help us achieve the mission:

What is the Mission of the Canadian Church?

The purpose of The Wesleyan Church of Canada is: To accelerate the missional impact of The Wesleyan Church across Canada and around the world.  Our Mission is: to raise up generations of Christ-following disciples who are characterized by the purity of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit and a passion for God, the lost and hurting.  Our 4 national ministry emphases are: Ministry health and multiplication;  Leadership development and care;  Interdenominational cooperation;  Global Responsibilities and responsiveness.

Ministry Health and Multiplication:

ensuring all Wesleyan churches, schools, camping, immigrant, chaplaincy, and outreach ministries are God-usable, healthy, relevant, and growing. We are intentionally broadening/diversifying the number of churches and ministries we offer.  One specific goal is: church planting at a minimum rate of 4% per year.

Interdenominational Cooperation:

ensuring The Wesleyan church is a full and active partner with our sister denominations and Canadian para-church organizations, in responding strategically to the needs and ministry opportunities in the Canadian context. We are committed to creating a stronger and unified voice on public policies and social issues. One specific goal is: meeting with leaders of sister denominations and parachurch organizations, to identify joint ministry opportunities and pursuing new and enhanced working relationships

Leadership Development and Care:

ensuring both lay and clergy ministry leaders and their families are healthy, supported and cared for in all aspects of their lives. We are committed to growing strong, wise and skillful ministry leaders. Additionally, we are aiming to ensure all retired pastors and those struggling with illness/injuries are properly supported:  One specific goal is: annually offering lay and clergy continuing education opportunities.

Global Responsibilities & Responsiveness:

ensuring we are working in close partnership with Global Partners, World Hope International, Samaritan’s Purse, and other missionary, relief and development agencies. Our objective is to lovingly, humbly and effectively reduce: poverty, violence, injustices, illiteracy, homelessness, and unsanitary conditions through timely and sacrificial support of indigenous leaders and churches. One specific goal is: meeting with key Canadian and international leaders to ensure the help we offer is wanted, timely and effective, especially in addressing sex-trafficking, slavery/forced labour, child marriages and support for those escaping persecution and warfare.

History of the Wesleyan Church in Canada

The Wesleyan Church of Canada is a Christian denomination.  The church traces its history to the person and work of Jesus Christ and the commission He provided His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations”.

The ministry of John Wesley in the 1700’s is of particular interest to The Wesleyan denomination. Wesley was a priest in the Anglican/Church of England whose ministry was characterized by powerful preaching, social reform, and strong evidence of the supernatural work of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. He was a prolific writer and theologian, and who was strong advocate for the poor and disadvantaged.

Today, Wesleyans respect Wesley’s contribution to church history and agree with his: unwavering allegiance to Scripture;  evangelistic focus; and his emphasis on the purifying and transformative influence of the Holy Spirit. Wesleyan’s continue his emphasize on the importance of authentic worship, intentional biblical discipleship, compassion ministries, and personal accountability and congregational care through small group ministries.

The Wesleyan church is a member of the much larger group of Methodist churches which have been present in North America since 1760’s, and specifically in Canada since 1770.  Mergers between many like-minded Methodist denominations took place over the last 200+ years, and resulted in the creation of The Wesleyan church in 1968.

For a more detailed history of The Wesleyan church, click here.