Downtown Victoria

Oak Bay

University of Victoria

Inner Harbor

After moving to North Carolina to attend seminary, Mike took a ministry position at First Baptist Church Jonesboro, GA, from 2010-2018. During this time, he and Sarah met, married, and welcomed two amazing sons into their family. God was working in their young adult ministry, and they enjoyed a wonderful time on staff at FBCJ.

In 2017, Mike began to feel God stirring in his heart, preparing him for a change of seasons. In January 2018, he prayed a significant prayer: ͞God, don’t ever let me get so comfortable that I won’t follow you wherever you lead. If you have a new assignment for me, please show me. Not long afterward, he received a call from Ashley Austin. He shared with Mike what God was doing in Victoria, and how Canvas Church was ready to plant a second campus on the island, this time on the east side of the city in the municipality of Oak Bay. Mike and Sarah agreed to pray about the opportunity and seek God’s guidance. 

Helping people discover their place in the story, family, and mission of God.

Mike’s family has a long history of planting and pastoring churches in Canada. His great-grandfather, a banker with the Bank of Montreal, planted a church in Prince Rupert, British Columbia shortly after World War II. His grandfather Henry Blackaby, born in British Columbia, later helped to plant 37 churches throughout the province of Saskatchewan. Many of those stories are chronicled in the book and Bible study "Experiencing God". Mike's father Richard pastored a church in Winnipeg for 3 years before becoming president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta, for 13 years. This is where Mike grew up, and he remembers often hearing about the need for church planters to go and start Christ-centered, gospel-preaching churches across this vast country.

Along the way, God began to confirm their call in many ways, including several people without knowledge of the opportunity randomly telling Mike that the Holy Spirit had told them this year would bring a new ministry assignment into his life, specific answers to prayers for guidance, and even dreams. In July 2017, Mike and Sarah and their boys visited Victoria to further pray and seek God’s guidance on the island. They came with a condensed list of prayerful questions for God to answer. During their time on the island, God gave clear and specific answers to each question they had. After seeking wise counsel and continuing to pray, both Mike and Sarah were convinced that this was the next step in their story.

In January 2018, Mike and Sarah and their boys moved 2,800 miles (4,500 km) from south Atlanta, GA, to Victoria, British Columbia. They immediately began meeting monthly with a small group in Oak Bay who had been gathering over the previous months and continue to take one step of faith at a time as God leads. In the first months of living on the island, they have already seen God’s miracles in confirmation of their new assignment! For more details on the story, they encourage you to email them at God is at work in Oak Bay, and He is calling laborers into the harvest. (Matthew 9:35-38)

Greater Victoria, the Providential Capital of British Columbia, is home to thirteen municipalities with approximately 370,000 residents. Victoria is Canada’s fittest city and has been named the nation’s cycling capital.

Victoria’s natural and historic beauty draws approximately 3.5 million visitors each year. Popular tourist activities include whale watching, touring the parliament buildings, and walking through the oldest Chinatown in Canada. Downtown is filled with unique restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops.

Prayer Requests

Here are some things you can pray for:

*The God would draw people in Oak Bay to Himself.

That God would give us “divine appointments” as we encounter people in the city.

That God would provide a core team of ministry leaders and lay people who would help lead and serve.

That God would provide the financial support we need to live and do ministry in a place where the cost of living is exceptionally high.

That God would continue to give us His vision for His church as we move forward one step at a time.

That God would grant us favor in the eyes of the community leaders in Oak Bay.

That God would give us wisdom to speak wisely and navigate within a culture that is largely unchurched and unbiblical in its “spirituality.”

If you would like to know how you can pray personally for us, you can connect with us through

Victoria also has the mildest climate of anywhere in Canada, with an average rainfall of 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of Vancouver, Seattle and New York.

The University of Victoria is home to approximately 20,000 students and 4,000 employees and is currently ranked 130 in the world among all colleges and universities.

Victoria truly is a world-class city with great culture and influence!

Canvas Church started 5 years ago on the west side of Victoria with the intention of multiplying across the city and the island. Canvas Oak Bay is the first of this multiplication process. For 12 months leading up to our arrival on the island, members of Canvas Westshore gathered their family, friends, and co-workers for monthly services at the historic Oak Bay Beach Hotel to build momentum and spread the word of the new church starting on that side of town.

Since arriving in January 2018, we have spent the last year continuing to gather for weekly services, building relationships, doing outreach events, and serving in the community. We have since moved locations to the Monterey Recreation Centre, which is right off of the main street in the heart of Oak Bay’s shopping district. Oak Bay is a very established and stable community, so it is vitally important that we build trust and a reputation as part of this community. We have sought to do this by volunteering alongside other volunteers at several community events, and God has opened many doors for us already as the leaders of Oak Bay have slowly welcomed our involvement. The wrong approach for us would be to make a big “splash” as the “new” thing in town. Rather, we have attempted to build their trust and our reputation as a church that seeks to bless and be involved in the community.

As we have built relationships in Oak Bay as well as with members at the Westshore campus, we have prayed that God would bring together a core group that could become our launch team. The plan is to identify this team by January 2019, spend two months meeting weekly with them for "house church" to train and build a unified vision, then officially launch weekly services on March 31st.

We also plan to be a multiplying church that raises up leaders that eventually go and plant other church campuses across the city and the island.

Canvas Church filters everything we do through four main values.

1. Jesus. This is His church, and He is its architect (Matthew 16:18). Ultimately, Canvas Church is part of a much bigger picture: The Kingdom of God. As the Head of the church, Jesus sets the agenda for Canvas and everything we do is for His glory and to make Him known.

2. Relationships. Humans are social creatures by nature, and the church displays this in a unique way through the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Canvas desires to bring a diversity of people together in unity as part of the same spiritual family. All of our ministries are done through the context of relationships.

3. Families. The faith is meant to be passed on from generation to generation (Deuteronomy 6:46-47; 2 Timothy 1:5). We desire to bring the younger and older generations together, and to see families strengthened by the ministries of Canvas. Additionally, we believe that salvation brings people together into a common spiritual family. Regardless of a person’s biological family, the church fills in the gaps of their family tree.

4. Community. God has called believers to be “salt” and “light” in the world (Matthew 5:13-16), and so we believe our community should be blessed because we are here. For this reason, we seek to involve ourselves in tangible ways in our community by serving and participating, as well as praying.