Hemorrhaging Faith discussion draws hundreds
Panel explores reason behind the exodus of youth from the church
2 min. read
May 9, 2013

Only one in three Canadian young adults who attended church weekly as a child still do so today. That is a staggering statistic, representing a serious problem that the church needs to address. That statistic was just one piece of data that was contained in a report published last year by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada called Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and when young adults are leaving, staying and returning to the Church. On April 22, more than 350 people came to Redeemer University College to hear more about the issues surrounding youth and young adults in the church. That event was quickly sold out, so another evening was added on May 9. Both events at Redeemer were panel discussions moderated by Redeemer’s Chaplain Syd Hielema. The panelists included Dwayne Cline, Senior Pastor at Hamilton’s Hughson St. Baptist church, Natalie Frisk, a youth pastor with the Meeting House in Oakville, and Peter Schuurman, an instructor in Redeemer’s Youth Ministry program. The purpose of the events were to present an overview of the Hemorrhaging Faith study and to examine its implications for discipleship and mission today. The panelists also wanted to encourage and provide wise and discerning leadership to churches, their staff and parents who are struggling with these issues. The room was full of heavy hearts, hopeful stories, and keenly interested individuals. High school students and grandparents, youth leaders and school teachers, pastors and parents all listened closely to a discussion of the issues that are extremely concerning and important to each one of them. There were a number of personal stories shared during each of the presentations. One high school student spoke about the influence that her family and her parents had on her faith development. A parent shared their pain about having grown children who have walked away from the church. The panel responded with encouragement and also challenged parents, youth and those in ministry to remain involved and to work hard on loving people wherever they are at in their faith walk. Pete Schuurman reminded the group,”Youth are the barometer of the church and culture as a whole. This is a story of us all, not just about youth.” The Hemorrhaging Faith workshops were presented by CLEAR, Redeemer’s continuing education program.

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