Inter-Varsity responds to Hemorrhaging Faith

Young Canadians are leaving the church in unprecedented numbers.


This alarming information was recently released in a ground-breaking report called Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and When Young Canadians are Leaving, Staying and Returning to the Church.

It’s the kind of study that could demoralize Christian leaders. But for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship President Geri Rodman and her staff team, the report provides increased incentive to reach as many young people as possible for Jesus Christ.

“The statistics coming out of the Hemorrhaging Faith study are sobering,” says Rodman. “But the situation is not hopeless. In fact, we know from experience that given the right invitation and encouragement, young people will both explore and engage in the Christian faith.”

Some of the more alarming revelations in the report include the following:

  • Only one in three young people, who attended church as children, still do so today.
  • Of the young people who have left the church, 50 per cent no longer identify with the Christian tradition.
  • More young people leave the church between childhood and adolescence than between adolescence and young adult years.
  • More young men are leaving the church than young women.

On the other hand, the study offers hopeful revelations:

  • Among young people still engaged with faith, 56 per cent reported a summer camp experience.
  • 71 per cent of those still engaged said their faith came alive on a short term missions trip.
  • 60 per cent of young people, who consider themselves disengaged with faith, said they would study the Bible with a friend. 
  • 46 per cent of young people still engaged with faith say their faith came alive because of a friend.


“Inter-Varsity’s ministry to young people is built on the foundations of summer camp, mission experiences, Bible Study and witness through friendship,” says Rodman. “While this study affirms that our ministry practices are on the right track, we also appreciate how much the report is able to teach us about the way young people today are thinking.”

Many of the young people responding to the study said they wanted someone to answer tough questions about faith and life.  They also said they want to use their gifts and abilities to serve and lead in the church.

“Our ministry philosophy has always been one of engaging tough questions,” said Rodman. “We want young people to wrestle with questions of faith so that they can truly own what they believe.



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