Glenn Smith

Dr. Glenn Smith is married to Sandra and together they have three daughters, Jenna (1981), Julia (1983) and Christa (1986) and two granddaughters. Glenn did his graduate studies in Patristics at the University of Ottawa and his doctoral thesis in contextual theology at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago. He has received an honorary doctorate from the Union des universités privées d’Haïti for his contribution to urban theological praxis in that country.

He has been the Executive Director of Christian Direction in Montreal since September 1983 – a multi‑faceted ministry committed to see God transform urban communities by the concerted actions of committed Christians in the cities of the Francophone world. He is a professor of urban theology and missiology at Institut de théologie pour la francophonie (Université Laval) where he is Academic Dean. He is sessional lecturer at McGill University and at the Université chrétienne du Nord d’Haïti.

While directing the ministry of Christian Direction, Glenn Smith was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities from 1986 to 1990 and its President from 1990‑1992.  He was a member of the Protestant Committee of le Conseil supérieur de l’éducation (Superior Council of Education) from 1986-1991 and its President during the two school years of 1992 and 1993.  He became the President of the Protestant Partnership on Education in 1994.  Moreover from 1993-2006, he was a member of the Board of Directors of World Vision Canada.  In 1994, he became the Chair of the Education Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. In 1996, he also became Vice‑chair of the Alliance francophone des protestants évangéliques du Québec (French Alliance of Protestants and Evangelicals in Québec). He was the Chair of the Board of Regents of Bakke Graduate University from 2004-2012. From 1999-2004, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. Since 2006, he is a member of the Board of Directors of IVCF: Canada. He is now the Vice-Chair of the executive committee of IFES (its international expression). 

 He is the co‑author of the book, Espoir pour la ville, Dieu dans la cité (Hope for the city, God in the city), the book, Éduquer les enfants : une vision protestante de l’école, and the book, Histoire du protestantisme au Québec depuis 1960. He is the co‑editor of L’Évangile et le monde urbanisé (The Gospel and Urbanisation), a 3,000 + page reader that is into its 5th edition in French and English on urban ministry.  He is the author of the book Suivre Jésus : Dieu nous invite à une formation de disciples qui transforme that was published in English, in French and in Spanish. His forth-coming book is entitled, City Air Makes You Free: To Transform the city through a fresh, biblical hermeneutic. He has also authored a Bible study called Following Jesus into the public sphere of Québec culture. He is the author of numerous articles on urban mission. He was a Senior Associate for Large Cities with the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and was the director of the afternoon program for the 3rd Congress of Lausanne that took place in Cape Town in October 2010.



Click on the (+) sign to see the resource description and link to download/purchase.


Title Language Resource Link(s) Subject
Guide de l'animateur
Document Description: 


A leadership guide on how to lead missional communities in the marketplace.
French Marketplace Theology
Ma Vocation – Un Don De Dieu
Document Description: 
A 14 session Bible study series entitled My vocation – gift from God. This is a third edition that we totally rewrote based on the internship programme we did over 2½ years with T@W.
French Marketplace Theology


Title Language Resource Link(s) Subject
A Very Selective Bibliography on Vocation and Mission

(In part inspired by Peter Hammond’s annotated bibliography on ministry in the marketplace)

BARTH, KARL. PROFESSOR . Church Dogmatics, paragraph 71, The doctrine of Creation. Ed. G. W. Bromiley & T. F. Torrance. T & T Clark, 1961.

Barth’s theology of vocation is integrated with the fundamental themes of the Trinity, theology and Scripture. In his section on reconciliation, (“The key to my theology, he subsequently wrote.”) he rejects any view that elevates human culture, warning that we should neither over-spiritualize nor elevate work to the level of worship. He vigorously disputes the way human dominion over creation has been used to provide a rationale for capitalism, the development of technology and the work ethic. Barth offers five criteria for defining proper work: (1) objectivity: setting ends and devoting one’s self to them, (2) worth: is it honest, constructive work? (3) humanity: the social and cooperative dimension of work, (4) reflectivity: the person must be the active subject and not just passive object of work, and there must be room for reflection, and (5) limitation: work must not become an absolute; rest is also commanded. Barth broadens the concept of vocation to go beyond the job and to include the work of caring for children, the sick, the elderly, the unemployed, and the work of mothers and housewives. Mission and witness are key themes in this paragraph of Barth’s notion of vocation.

BLAMIRES, HARRY. PROFESSOR . The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? S.P.C.K., 1963, 191 pages.

In this Christian classic Blamires seeks to reform Christian thinking. “There is no longer a Christian mind…Except in the area of personal conduct,” says Blamires, “Christians have lost their saltiness intellectually. Thus we have retreated from society and have been trodden underfoot by secularism” (Introduction). What should characterize the Christian mind? Blamires discusses six qualities: its supernatural orientation, its awareness of evil, its conception of truth, its acceptance of authority, its concern for the person and its sacramental cast.

CONGAR, YVES. THEOLOGIAN . Lay People in the Church. Christian Classics, 1985, 498 pages.

This work is the one of the earliest and most extensive theologies of vocation.  Congar looks at Jesus as prophet, priest and king as a source of thinking on the roles of the laity in society. First published in 1953, this Christian classic helped lay the groundwork for reassessments of Catholic laity at Vatican II, where Congar was an expert witness and counsel. Exhaustive in its coverage, several reprints attest to its indispensability as the rallying cry of the Catholic lay movement. The lay movement needs more work like this if it is going to avoid being just another church fad.

DORR, DONALD. THEOLOGIAN . Spirituality and Justice. Orbis,1984, 255 pages.

Dorr writes to bring together two popular but clashing concerns. Those interested in social justice often criticize traditional spirituality for being individualistic and passive in the face of the world's evils. And those who stress the need for spiritual­ity see the inability of many social activists to deal with frustration and anger. In attempting to resolve this dilemma Don touches on a number of diverse subjects: economics, politics, theology and prayer.

ELLUL, JACQUES. PROFESSOR. The Presence of the Kingdom. Seabury, 1967, 153 pages.

In this early work Ellul considers the problem of how to live as a Christian in the world—that is, in the domain of the Satan. He is concerned for the layperson who, though salt and light, is a sheep in the midst of wolves.

GUINNESS, OS. SOCIOLOGIST . The Call. Word, 1999, 247pages.

This is a definitive text on calling. “Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are everything we do and everything we have is invested with special devotion, dynamism and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.” says Guinness. It is bigger than our jobs, talents or a self-centered identity quest. It is not a matter of what we do or where we are so much as whom we are and how we partner with God. With an unparalleled grasp on Western cultural perspectives, Guinness presents alternative views before presenting his own with unusual clarity. Probing and passionate, philosophical yet readable, this book provides no tests or techniques for evaluating one’s calling. It simply peels away misconceptions and restores a sense of what it means to follow Christ.

HOLMES, ARTHUR F. PROFESSOR . All Truth is God’s Truth, Eerdmans, 1979, 240 pages.

This foundation piece on how to integrate faith and life is rooted in the Christian tradition. “The early church claimed that truth is God’s truth wherever it is found. The focus here is on truth. But the ultimate focus of truth is God. If he is eternal and all-wise creator of all things, as Christians affirm, then his creative wisdom is the source of … all truth about everything….“The Scriptures and the church fathers clearly placed the focus on truth, they perceived its universality and they recognized the ultimate unity of all truth in God. They believed passionately that all truth is God’s truth no matter where it be found. But as Holmes states, “Yet today the Christian faith is too often seen as a private affair of the heart without reference to the larger scope of human knowledge and cultural affairs.” This books presents a clarion call to recapture the notion that, yes, all truth is God’s truth.

HOLMES, ARTHUR F. PROFESSOR . Contours of a World View. InterVarsity Press, 1983, 240 pages.

Regarded as a modern classic on Christian worldview development, this book contrasts secular and Christian ways of looking at the world and defends the Christian perspective as the strongest alternative. “In a world ravaged by dehumanizing bar­barism and torn by ideological conflict we have an obligation to rekindle and disseminate the Christian vision of a unified world view” (back cover). Chapters include applications to work, play, science and technology, and human creativity. This is literature for the serious Christian thinker.

HOUSTON, JAMES M. PROFESSOR . I Believe in the Creator. Eerdmans, 1980, 275 pages.

Houston reminds us that how we integrate our Christian faith with life in the world is based on what we believe about God as Creator and about his creation. With great erudition he challenges popular worldviews with a radical Christian faith in God the Creator. He then draws out the implications of this faith for how we look at and live in the world.

PALMER, PARKER. EDUCATOR . Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. Jossey-Bass, 2000, 117 pages.

In this book Palmer helps people discover their truest calling. Discerning your call involves getting beneath the events, crises and experiences of life to grasp what really motivates you. Then those motives are matched with world needs. This treatment of career decision making is rooted in Palmer’s Quaker beliefs as he states, “We listen for guidance everywhere except from within” (p. 5), and adds, “We arrive in this world with birthright gifts—then we spend half our lives abandoning them or letting others disabuse us of them” (p. 12). Palmer provides insight into the God-created motivational grid each person possesses.

PALMER, PARKER. EDUCATOR . The Courage to Teach. Jossey-Bass, 2009, 224 pages.

“This book is for teachers who have had good days and bad – and whose bad days bring the suffering that comes from something one loves. It is for teachers who refuse to harden their hearts, because they love learners, learning and the teaching life”, says Parker Palmer in the Introduction to this, one of the finest pieces that integrates the vocation of teaching with spiritual life.

SAYERS, DOROTHY L. WRITER . Are Women Human? Eerdmans and InterVarsity Press, 1971, 47 pages.

This collection of essays is a Christian classic. Sayers enjoys upending unthinking assumptions about gender and work. While many people would consider Sayer; feminist, she rejects such labels in favor of a no-nonsense, commonsense approach to the issue of women’s roles in society.

STACKHOUSE, JOHN PROFESSOR .  Need to Know: Vocation as the Heart of Christian Epistolomogy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014)

How should a Christian think? This book is a bold articulation of Christian epistemology rooted in vocation. “All (legitimate) work is blessed by God and vocation….is the divine calling to be a Christian in every mode of life, whether public as well as private, religious as well as secular, adult as well as juvenile, corporate as well as individual, female as well as male. And thus to be a Christian in every mode of life is to show something of what it means to be redeemed and renewed human being as well.” The book is a crystal clear model of responsible Christian thinking and living for today.

Coupled with Stackhouse’s lecture, Engaging the University: The Vocation of Campus Ministry, (available on his blog), these are two fine pieces to embrace the subject of authentic engagement with the university.

STEVENS, R. PAUL. PROFESSOR . The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective. Eerdmans/Regent, 1999, 289 pages.

Stevens acquaints readers with a “people theology” that challenges the division God’s people into laity and clergy. He provides a theological foundation for each person’s calling to do the Lord’s work. He lays a solid biblical foundation for changing individual lives and the life of the church as a whole. Each chapter ends with discussion and study questions.

English Vocation Work and Mission