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Jun 2, 2010

Researching Canada

The source of this data is from the Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them. When we did the original research for the book we knew we needed to include Canadian data. Why? For three reasons:

1. We did this with the North American Mission Board and, contrary to some maps you might see (where the U.S. is an island), Canada is part of North America.

2. We wanted to ask the North American question and not just the U.S. question.

3. My wife is Canadian. ;-)

If you have read my books, you will notice that I frequently add references to Canada. In Comeback Churches, we polled Canadian churches and used Canadian examples. In Breaking the Missional Code and Planting Missional Churches, you will see Canadian examples.

Regrettably, there is not as much research on the Canadian church. There are some sources, including Gallup (with examples of studies here, here, and here) and the Christian Research Association (with a study here). Reginald Bibby and others have also provided some good analysis.

Well, in Lost and Found, we looked at how Canadian young unchurched people compared with U.S. Keep in mind that the sample was a total of 1000 twenty-something unchurched young adults. We intentionally asked 100 Canadians as part of that sample. Until now, I have not had a chance to release the information. However, thanks to Richie Stanley and the North American Mission Board, I was able to share it in Canada.

One important note: as I mentioned in the conference, there are 100 Canadians, randomly drawn from across Canada, in the sample. There are real limitations in a sample this size. However, I think it provides some important conclusions. You can download the PowerPoint reporting on the whole sample here, and the presentation that breaks down the sample between United States and Canadian unchurched twenty-somethings here.

Three broad issues stand out:

1. Canadian young adults who don't go to church are similar to their American counterparts on most issues.

2. Canadian young adults who don't go to church are more pluralistic and less connected to historic Christian beliefs than their American counterparts.

3. Canadian young adults who don't go to church are less negative about the church.

Here are just a few specific numbers from the younger unchurched Canadian sample:

  • 75% of younger unchurched Canadians agree that church is generally helpful to society
  • 78% agree that God actually exists
  • 50% agree that Jesus died and came back to life
  • 51% say they would be willing to study the Bible if a friend asked them to

Also, in the presentation I gave the first day, I addressed the issues in culture that churches will need to consider:

  • In the culture - The Great Recession, Sexuality, Gender Inclusion, and Intolerance
  • In the churches - Post-Seeker Context, Spirituality Trend and Counter Trend, Evangelical Angst, Rethinking Discipleship, Denominational Catharsis, Networks, and Innovations

I love Canada.

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Posted:June 2, 2010 at 12:00 am

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