• Christina Van Starkenburg

Beyond Youth Group



When a child or adult is baptised in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) the congregation is usually asked a question in addition to the parents or individual. While the exact words may change, the gist of the question is whether or not the members of the congregation will help teach the individual about their faith and encourage them as they walk with God so they can continue to grow and believe.


Despite churches’ best intentions to guide young people into lifelong faith, studies show that monthly religious attendance in Canada has fallen from 42 percent in 1986 to 23 percent in 2015 (Angus Reid). Furthermore, a poll by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) found 45 percent of young adults attend church less than they did when they were teenagers. It can feel like we are failing to pass along the story of God’s works to the next generation so they too may praise God (Psalm 102:18).


KEEPING THE FAITH Even so, the Christian faith is not destined to die out in Canada. That same study by EFC noticed that while many young adults are stepping back from church attendance and church affiliation, the number who choose to stay is increasing. In 2011, 47 percent of Catholic teens and 36 percent of mainline Protestant teens stayed affiliated with the church. In 2018, those numbers increased to 55 percent and 53 percent, respectively.


These teenagers are realizing that their faith and their church community play an important role in their lives. Because of this knowledge, they are choosing to immerse themselves in youth programs that help them wrestle with the hard questions of life within a community that loves them wholeheartedly, lives life alongside them and listens to their struggles.


Churches are rising to the challenge. Many congregations across Canada are working hard to teach, to love and to walk with the teenagers in their midst. One way to do this is through the creation of mentorship programs.


{Read more at Christian Courier}

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