At the intersection of faith and fandom
C3 pastor uses Drake’s words to promote his deity’s message
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.