One of the key ways that the Youth and family department helps strengthen the churches of our Convention in ministering effectively to youth, young adults and families is by equipping leaders to become more effective in youth ministry (History & Purpose). Throughout the year there are different opportunities for volunteers working with the next generation to receive encouragement and practical training at events such as the Next Conference, Springforth leaders track, Youth Leaders Training program, Horizons or the Fall Training Tour.
This past September, two evenings of training were provided during the Fall Training Tour on September 24th, 2012 (Moncton) and September 25th (Bedford). The theme of these evenings was based on a recent Canadian research project entitled “Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and When Canadian Young Adults are Leaving, Staying and Returning to Church” (www.hemorrhagingfaith.com and https://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/hemorrhaging-faith/). Over the course of the two evenings about 200 individuals came to hear researchers James Penner and Rachael Harder from James Penner and Associates, the research company commissioned by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Youth and Young Adult Ministry Roundtable to undertake this study.
This research examined Canadian Young Adults, who attended church as children, and specifically where they are today. Based on the answers given by the respondents, the researchers were able to divide the young adults into four different spiritual types from those who are still active in the church today to those who have left completely. During the Fall Training Tour, these four groups – engagers, fence sitters, wanderers and rejecters – were examined in depth and the presenters, James and Rachael, discussed practical ways the church can respond and interact with each group as well as the factors which were either a driver or barrier for young adult participation in church today. Although there is some discouraging news, the report and the training in September highlighted areas of hope and ways forward. This research provides an important key in how ministries and churches can begin to reach the next generation more effectively for Christ.
For a more in depth look at what the study has found, you can access a copy at www.hemorrhagingfaith.com .