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Parents, pastors, and youth workers have known for some time that when students leave high school for the workforce or additional education, their chances of taking faith with them are low. That phenomenon was well documented in a 2011 Canadian study called Hemorrhaging Faith. But is there a way to turn bad news into good? To explain why some young adults stick with faith, and for Christian groups to ensure that happens more frequently?

That question is addressed in a new report called Renegotiating Faith: The Delay in Young Adult Identity Formation and What It Means for the Church in Canada. About a hundred youth ministry personnel across Canada read a draft copy in May, and then met in Burlington, Ont., to discuss this major new study and contribute to a practical booklet of action steps for churches.

The report (a free download at www.RenegotiatingFaith.ca) and the action booklet (coming later this fall) are part of a series of resources being produced by a Young Adult Transition Research partnership that includes The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Power to Change–Students, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Youth For Christ and Truth Matters.

The initial Renegotiating Faith report, more than 150 pages, is based on specially commissioned online surveys at the Angus Reid Forum – which isolated almost 2,000 young adults who had a Christian upbringing – and almost 800 more attending Christian postsecondary institutions. It also draws on a parallel survey with Christian youth and young adult ministry workers about how they are supporting young adults through this transition.