At the in­ter­sec­tion of faith and fandom

C3 pas­tor uses Drake’s words to pro­mote his de­ity’s mes­sage

StarMetro Toronto - - METRO NEWS | TORONTO - Gil­bert Ngabo Metro | Toronto

It’s not as if God cre­ated The 6 on the sixth day, or as if Je­sus him­self started from the bot­tom.

But a Toronto church is play­ing on rap­per Drake’s suc­cess­ful brand­ing of the city to at­tract young fol­low­ers. And, ap­par­ently, it’s work­ing.

A few weeks ago, the Toronto chap­ter of the Chris­tian City Church – C3 Toronto – erected a bill­board on Queen West, with the in­scrip­tion “For God So Loved The 6.” It didn’t take long be­fore the sign made rounds online, and cre­ated buzz for the church.

“Peo­ple aren’t telling me specif­i­cally why they’re com­ing in, but it’s no co­in­ci­dence; the bill­board is hav­ing an im­pact,” said Sam Picken, the se­nior pas­tor.

“I think it cre­ated a lit­tle bit of in­trigue and peo­ple want to see what kind of church would post a mes­sage like this.”

This Sun­day’s ser­vice at the Cen­tral Tech School church near Bathurst St. drew a record num­ber of nearly 400 par­tic­i­pants, a huge leap from pre­vi­ous ser­vices, he said.

Picken moved from Aus­tralia in 2008 to serve for the C3 chap­ter in Cal­gary, be­fore start­ing the Toronto church in 2013. He said Toronto has a lot of ap­peal­ing as­pects for C3, not least of them a vi­brant mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.

“We are a church that tries to stay rel­e­vant, keep­ing an un­com­pro­mised mes­sage with the Bi­ble, and very com­mu­nity and youth fo­cused,” he said. But is the pas­tor a Drake fan? “Who isn’t, right?” he joked, adding he has some of the rap­per’s hits, although he wouldn’t say which one is his favourite.

“Drake loves the city of Toronto and has def­i­nitely put it on the world map, and I love that he’s proud of where he is from.”


Sam Picken, se­nior pas­tor at C3 Toronto, started the Toronto church in 2013.


The church’s bill­board is Drake-inspired.


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