Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Martin Luther University College

First Advisor

Dr Allen Jorgenson

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Harris

Advisor Role




This dissertation explores the changing nature of mission among Pentecostal churches in Ontario. The findings of this grounded theory qualitative research project suggest that mission in those Pentecostal churches in Ontario under review have switched the priority of the juxtaposed foci of salvific and humanitarian such that the latter is now their primary means for expressing mission.

Christianity is a mission-oriented faith tradition. Throughout history, it is the case that the church’s understanding and expression of mission has adjusted and adapted according to the context and culture it has found itself in. In the ever changing religious and cultural context in the Global West, which has become primarily post-Christendom, the nature of mission is changing as well. It follows then that a recognition of the change in the current Canadian culture and context requires new and fresh approaches to mission. As discussed in this study, historically the mission of Pentecostal churches has focused on salvific and humanitarian understandings. However, because of a strong belief and commitment to individual conversion, that is, personal salvation by faith, traditionally Pentecostals have tended toward placing greater emphasis on the salvific aspect of mission rather than on the humanitarian aspect. This study illumines a reversal of that tendency: humanitarianism now receives the predominant focus.

In an effort to better understand how Canadian Pentecostal Pastors in the province of Ontario see their church enacting its mission, the following research question was posed, “How do Christian Pentecostal Pastors leading large churches perceive their congregations’ Expression of Mission in a Post-Christendom Canadian Context in Ontario?” The methodology chosen to explore this question is grounded theory. The data collected in this study found three key themes: intentionality and deliberateness in the sharing of the goals of the church; creativity and innovation in their humanitarian outreach, and the importance of place and context, with attention on the local, national, and global reach of their humanitarian activities. The data from this study indicates that the prior priority of salvific interpretations of the Pentecostal mission in Ontario churches has diminished in favor of the need to offer practical and useful outreach to those in need. The sixteen Pentecostal participants and their congregations engaged in this study reflect this change in missional understanding and expression. As a way of moving forward missionally, Pentecostals in Ontario may have to rethink their theology of mission to reflect one that is primarily humanitarian in focus and application.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season