The City Parish

The City Parish

The city parish model is a highly relational, deeply interdependent, kingdom-focused vision of the city church. It enables church to remain small enough for each member to be known intimately and to involve every person in ministry while maintaining a kingdom-sized vision for renewing the city. Mission is both local and citywide.

The City

The greatest frontier for the gospel is the cities of the world and it is our desire to see the gospel lived out in the diversity of the urban context. Even in a culture so fluid as Canada, sociologists seem to agree on at least one thing: urbanization is here to stay. In fact, 80% of Canadians now live in Metropolitan areas – an urbanization rate that rivals such uber-dense societies as South Korea and the Netherlands.

An emerging strategy that addresses the diversity of a city is the city parish model, which, though in some ways as old as St. Paul, perhaps has never had such direct relevance to a culture as to our age of urbanization. The model envisions one urban church community consisting of several neighbourhood churches that network together for the common good and renewal of the city.


The Journey Network is organized like Ottawa: by neighbourhood. We believe we’re called to live beyond Sunday gatherings and midweek Bible studies, to invest our whole lives in developing deep community with fellow believers in proximity to where we live. We call this neighbourhood model The City Parish. Our neighbourhood groups exist as part of a larger, unified family called The Journey Network.

Historically to have a parish meant to take spiritual responsibility for a geographic area. That’s why members of The Journey parish churches believe in taking ownership of the spiritual condition of their neighbourhood, finding ways to not only love one another, but also tangibly love those living nearby through acts of service and stewarding resources for the common good.

It is our desire to multiply neighbourhood groups throughout Ottawa that are part of a larger, unified network. The larger network is able to do things a single neighbourhood church can’t do on its own—like engage in justice initiatives or facilitate large-scale worship events—and knits each small church into a bigger, citywide movement. Through these relationships, we naturally share ideas, gifts, and resources while praying for and with one another to see the kingdom come to Ottawa as it is in heaven.

The City Parish