One of the pandemic pivots that churches are continuing to make is in children’s and youth ministry. As church programs shut down, many turned to faith formation at home. This may be a pivot that lasts for months to come, as congregations all over Canada struggle to find volunteers to support their programs, and as parents continue to be hesitant about sending their children to church programs.
As a result, ministry leaders are realizing that focusing on the home as the center for faith formation is actually a healthy and necessary shift. Outside of school, the home is where children and youth have the most quantity and quality time with people who know them well. The challenge, however, is to find out what best supports formation in the home without presuming ministry leaders know what faith practices already exist, or what practices would bless families in different stages of their life together.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, creators of the Hemorrhaging Faith and Renegotiating Faith reports (which focused on why emerging adults were wandering from faith and how congregations could support their faith journeys during the period of extended adolescence and other significant life transitions), found that parents and extended family remained the strongest influence on the faith lives of children and emerging adults. Given this finding, the EFCA has partnered with a number of organizations, including the Christian Reformed Church (CRCNA), to find out what faith practices Canadian families currently use in their homes, and how their faith communities could best support them in these practices.
In January, the study will send out a digital survey to families from a variety of denominations across Canada who have children aged 18 and under living in the home, asking them to describe their family faith practices. Invitations to this survey will be disseminated to CRCNA families through Regional Catalyzers and Classis Youth Champions, and will be available more broadly through other members of the EFC’s partnership team.
As a partner organization, the CRCNA will receive comparative data related to CRC participants that will help identify ways our denominational ministries and local churches can encourage and support families in their discipling efforts. For more information contact gro.ancrc@negillimnavl.