Common Actions: Participatory Action Research as a Practice for Promoting Social Action among and between New Canadian Church Planters and Denominational Leaders

By Mark Chapman and James Watson

The Greater Toronto Area remains the major immigrant destination centre in Canada. New Canadians are welcomed but not necessarily well integrated into the lives of churches. Our experience and research has shown that this lack of integration can extend to new Canadians who start churches yet are not integrated with denominations or church planting organizations. The New Canadian Church Planter project is an ongoing participatory action research project that brings together new Canadian church planters and denominational leaders as equals. It engages these groups in conversation to identify issues of concern, facilitate shared learning, and promote positive social action. This paper uses data from that project to explore the effectiveness of participatory action research in facilitating those objectives. The project was effective at breaking down isolation, encouraging limited collaboration, developing localized resource sharing, and in disseminating learning but not at developing positive social action external to the meetings themselves.