Why engagers They’re
An insightful new report
from The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada and
several partner groups
examines why and when
Canadian young adults
are leaving, staying and
returning to church.
By Karen Stiller
Sam Grottenberg is a 21-year-old Canadian male who lives in Calgary and loves Jesus and His Church. Grottenberg was raised by parents whom he describes as “dedicated Christ follow- ers.” They prayed and read the Bible with him,
and Grottenberg clearly remembers talking about spiritual
things throughout the week, not just on Sunday morning.
“I could go to my dad, and my mom too, with theol-
ogy and beliefs I was wrestling with. They supported
me in trying to figure out what faith was for myself, and
not dictating to me and saying ‘This is what you have to
believe,’ ” he says. “There was the freedom to explore and
understand Christ for myself.”
Growing up, Grottenberg’s church was an intergenera-
tional experience – which he loved – complete with a
mentor named Bill who “absolutely affirmed me and
walked with me through my early days of serving in the
Church. He was always there to support me.” Grottenberg had what he calls “tangible experiences with God”
throughout his teen years. “That really stuck with me,
even when politics and crap happened in the church.
That gave me something to hold onto,” he says.
Grottenberg’s regular participation in church life as a
young adult and his ongoing openness to God make him an
Engager – and a minority among his peers – according to
Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and When Canadian Young Adults
Are Leaving, Staying and Returning to Church, a new report
commissioned by the EFC Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Roundtable and sponsored by the EFC, Great Commission
Foundation, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada,
Stronger Together 2011 and Youth for Christ Canada.