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Our History

From day one, it’s always been about growing the Church through personal evangelism and sharing God’s Word with people.


Our roots stretch back to 1911 when we were founded in Canada as an evangelism and Scripture distribution ministry. A national membership of dedicated volunteers committed themselves to using God’s Word as their primary vehicle of sharing the gospel and introducing people to Jesus Christ.

1911 Gideons logo

The Gideons International In Canada Founded

While The Gideons International had existed in the United States since 1899, on March 4, 1911, the Canadian Gideon members established their headquarters in Toronto, forming The Gideons International In Canada. Still connected to the US-based Gideons, the decision to do this was based on the understanding that being treated as another US state would limit the growth in Canada. They had no idea at the time how large it would truly grow.


Hospital Ministry 

The first Bible was placed in a hospital, officially beginning the hospital ministry in Canada. Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario was the first recipient, and it has only grown from there. The Scriptures shared in hospitals have given hope to countless patients, family members, and staff. 


Auxiliary Formed 

The wives of all Gideon members were made Auxiliary members, which at the time was formed for the sole purpose of prayer for the ministry. It soon became much more than a prayer group, and the women of the Auxiliary were an integral part of the ministry with their own outreach events. 


Prison Ministry 

The Gideons approached authorities with an offer to place Scripture in prison cells, which was readily accepted. It was also at this time that an inmate had requested a Bible with references but had found that none were available. The Gideons were able to provide him with this Scripture. Members also began to lead Wednesday meetings and Sunday morning services.


School Ministry

The Ontario School Act made the reading of Scripture mandatory at the beginning of each school day, but teachers were noticing that many of their students didn’t have their own copy of the Bible. Dedicated Gideon members began supplying students with the much-needed Scripture, beginning with schools were in rural Ontario. That year, 9,000 Bibles were ordered for schools and by 1939, 30,000 Bibles were placed in schools across Canada.


Service Testament Distribution

During World War II, over 10,000 New Testaments were given to men and women in the Armed Forces. During, and after the war, Gideon and Auxiliary members shared the gospel with veterans and those wounded in hospitals.


Youth Testaments

Distribution of New Testaments to Grade 5 children was largely the responsibility of members at the start of this new venture. The first presentation was made in Regina, Saskatchewan. Many members, and even non-members share stories of when they received their New Testament at school and how much it has changed their life.

Gideon Memorial Plan

Gideon Memorial Plan

To honour loved ones, the Gideon Memorial Plan was created for members to sponsor the placement of Scripture to give someone hope and comfort. While it began small with funeral homes and hotels, it has been one of the most successful programs the ministry has developed.

Nurse Testament Distribution

Nurse Testament Distribution

The Auxiliary members continued to create new ways of outreach into their communities. They were integral to the distribution of Scripture to new nurses as they finished their schooling, bringing God’s Word to even more people across the country.

1949 Gideons Logo

1 million copies of the Holy Scriptures placed

1 Million Copies

The one-millionth copy of Scripture was placed in Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, the site of the beginnings of the hospital ministry.


International Expansion Plan

The 47 countries where there were Gideon 'camps’ (now called chapters) were divided into zones. At this time, the Canadian representative was responsible for: Australia, British Isles, New Zealand, and parts of South Asia. This was only the start of what God had planned for ministry work overseas.

5 million copies of the Holy Scriptures placed

5 Million Copies

At a special ceremony, the five-millionth copy was presented to the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario at what was called a “little convention.”

Message from Prime Minister L.B. Pearson


French Scriptures Created 

While Gideon chapters had been in Quebec since 1922, there were very few French-language Scriptures for those members to share. By this time, more were available for ministry work to expand in Quebec as it was across the rest of the country.


RCMP Testament 

The Gideons International In Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of the RCMP by presenting recruits with a special New Testament which included Psalms and Proverbs. Eventually due to changes in the ceremony organization by the RCMP, this ministry has been reduced to bringing copies of Scripture to the ceremonies and left for whoever would like to take one, rather than a full presentation. 

10 million copies of the Holy Scriptures placed

10 Million Copies

The 10-millionth copy of Scripture was presented to the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, the Honourable Hédard J. Robichaud. 500 members gathered in Moncton to participate in the celebration.

This year held two more special events. While head office had moved several times within Toronto up to this point, it made the move out to Guelph, Ontario where it remains to this day.

The Scripture Overseas Witness program was introduced as a response to those wanting to honour someone living for special occasions such as a birthday or anniversary. Those wishing to donate would use the card available from the display and a “to honour you” card would be sent to the honouree.

1974 Logo


25 Million Copies

On the 75th anniversary of the Gideons being in Canada, the twenty-five-millionth copy of Scripture was presented in a special ceremony at the Royal York in Toronto, Ontario.


Sidewalk Distribution

Many schools had closed its doors to the Gideons sharing Scripture to the students on school property, so as a ministry it was decided to offer copies of the New Testament just off the boundary. Many students took the offered Scriptures, and with the success of this distribution method, it grew to more than sharing at schools.


Expansion in Canada: Gideons in Nunavut 

Outreach to the Canadian North expanded and a chapter was formed in Canada’s newest territory.


Mobilization Introduced

Douglas Walker was elected president of the Gideons International In Canada and later that year authored an article for the Canadian Gideon where he introduced a strategic plan he called “Mobilizing for Growth.”

“There is a need to renew our understanding that personal witnessing and the distribution of Scriptures are the main reason for the ministry to exist. We will embark on several key initiatives that will energize and mobilize the ministry to achieve the national objective and address some of the issues we face.”


Gideon Expressions Card Program

The Memorial Bible Plan was officially renamed the Gideon Expressions Card Program. The program was expanded to better meet the needs of the ministry and was part of a larger international program. Despite the changes over the years, the goal of the program remained the same: to reach many more people with the Word of God. Three lines of cards were introduced: occasion, In Honour/Sympathy/Memory, and seasonal. 


The Gideons International In Canada Became Self-Governing

With changes in Canada regarding ministries and organizations with headquarters outside of the country, the decision was made to become fully autonomous from The Gideons internationally. With this decision, the ministry was reshaped by inviting women into full membership, and people of all vocations into sharing the gospel with innovative new Scripture resources alongside local church partners.

This led to the development of Scripture magazines (Hope in 2012, Redemption in 2013, Light in 2014, and Spark in 2017) and a digital app called NewLife in 2012 to introduce people to the gospel of Christ in a new way. These innovations not only energized the domestic ministry, but also helped propel new international work, starting with the first Gospel Outreach (GO) Trip to Peru.


First GO Trip (Ukraine)

International ministry continued to expand as another GO Trip was organized, this time to Ukraine. GO Trips are an opportunity for Christians to be mobilized and to work with local churches to mobilize their members to evangelize their communities.

The Women’s Auxiliary officially retired in 2012 as women were able to join with the men as full members.


New Scripture Resource Launch

To make personal evangelism easier for members and other believers, the Gospel of John resource was developed and distributed as part of ministry outreach. It was particularly useful in the GO Trip to Zambia, the first to Africa. It was also in this year that ministry expanded into East Asia through proxy partners to keep believers in the region safe.


Global Church Partnership

As the ministry continued to expand quickly, the Global Church Partnership (GCP) program was created to partner with churches around the world. It acts to support churches and believers with Scripture resources and connect with more non-believers in their communities. With so much happening so quickly, a new website was launched to better reflect the direction of the ministry.

ShareWord Global introduced to Canada

ShareWord Global is Introduced

The ShareWord Global name and logo were launched to represent the ministry’s expanding international work. Our new ministry model was gradually taking shape and churches around the world were experiencing new energy and growth as a result. The ministry organized its first GO Trip to South Asia, bringing along a newly contextualized Light magazine with a hope to introduce more people to God. Pastors and churches were working together, and the gospel was changing lives.

International outreach expanded to Malawi and an additional region of South Asia through proxy partners, bringing the gospel to even more people around the world including Haiti with the first GO Trip to the country.


ShareWord Network

As more resources are made available, the ShareWord Network was launched, acting as a way for members to easily find support for outreach and event planning. It also allowed chapters to organize events and request Scripture resources.

The first GO Trip to Nicaragua ran this year, which was the start of a massive campaign to provide Scripture to every student in the country.


Evangelism Training Launched

Personal, relational evangelism becomes the standard means within which the gospel and Scriptures are shared with people through the ministry. To help believers feel comfortable in sharing their faith and testimony, our evangelism training was developed and utilized across the country and around the world.


Evangelism Impact Grows

With the expansion of the evangelism training, more church partners were requesting additional resources to supply new believers through outreach events.

This year was also the first GO Trip to Kenya, building on already exciting ministry work in Africa, and now with the support of new training. The first GO Trip to Chile was run this year as well, bringing the gospel to even more people in Latin America.


Scriptures to South Asia 

Ministry work expanded to an additional region in South Asia, working through proxy partners and with contextualized Scripture resources.


Ministry in South Asia and Africa Continues

The first Scripture resources were sent to yet another region in South Asia to support believers there. Ministry work in Africa expanded too, with the first GO Trip to Uganda. Believers in both areas are being mobilized and further supported to share their faith in their communities.



In 2021, the entire ministry was rebranded and officially brought under the umbrella of ShareWord Global with The Gideons International in Canada established as a legacy ministry of ShareWord. 



Our evangelism training, along with Scripture resources and local GO opportunities, were rebranded into a single event called, Ignite. 


Right Now

Today, we’re active in dozens of countries around the world—building relationships with churches all over the world to accomplish four things together:

  1. Train the congregation to feel ready and able to share the gospel
  2. Equip them with Scripture resources to support ongoing evangelism
  3. Facilitate unique ways to GO—locally and internationally
  4. Cultivate communities focused on evangelism

Through these means, our five-year goal to see 100,000 believers mobilized to share the gospel was surpassed two years early!

Now, we’re on a mission to mobilize 200,000 people in three years—bringing the gospel with Scripture to hundreds of thousands more people.

Together, we can tell the world.

Contact Us

Telephone: 519.823.1140
Toll-free: 1.888.482.4253

Office Hours: Monday-Friday,
9:00am-4:30pm ET


Full Contact Information



CRA Charitable Registration # 108082991 RR0001

Canadian Centre for Christian Charities