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Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Led Research Helps Answer Canadian Church Questions
”HOW LONG...?“
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Picture 1

“Can you help my organization deal with certain problems we’re having?” That is a question EFC staff hear often, as the leadership team speaks at churches or conferences and meets with affiliate churches and organizations. Often the question reaches the desk of Rick Hiemstra, the EFC’s director of research and media relations, because research is often part of the answer when navigating big-picture issues for Christian organizations in Canada.

Because the EFC is an association that serves a wide range of affiliated groups – including denominations, ministry organizations, higher educational institutions and congregations – part of our response is to determine whether other groups are having similar concerns and would benefit from the same research project. The EFC prioritizes research that can be done in partnership with our affiliates, which also helps create buy-in for both the research and the distribution of the research results.

Canadian research matters, and your support and belief in its importance helps to make it possible.

The Young Adult Transition Research project (2015 to May 2019) and the Small Church Consultation (May 2019) are two examples of recent research partnerships bearing fruit for Canadian churches.

The Young Adult Transition project involved Canadian Youth Workers Conference, Truth Matters, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Power to Change–Students and Youth for Christ.

It began when one of these groups asked about accessing data from the earlier Hemorrhaging Faith research study (completed in 2012 by James Penner, Rick Hiemstra and others). Could the data could help understand how to build better connections with young people who were about to enter university?

Realizing that other groups would be interested in understanding the transition in faith formation that young people undergo when leaving high school, the EFC proposed that a partnership be developed like the partnerships formed for the Canadian Biblical Engagement Study (2014) and Canadian Evangelical Missions Engagement Study (2017).

Aileen van Ginkel, the EFC’s vice-president of ministry services, helped put together the Young Adult Transition partnership and three consultations with staff from several denominations, organizations and congregations that helped shape the study. Such consultations broadened the impact of the research and contributed to the understanding of what its implications could be.

Recently, a question about small churches in Canada sparked an initial consultation with a broader group of ministry leaders to understand more clearly the needs of pastors of small Canadian churches, and how small-church ministry could be better supported.

A small steering committee was formed to plan the event, including Ron Johnston of Small Church Connections and Marilyn Draper, a professor of practical theology at Tyndale Seminary, as well as the EFC’s Rick and Aileen.

The Small Church Consultation involved around 30 people, many from outside Ontario. Participants met May 21–22 to consider questions like:
  • What value do small churches have in God’s eyes?
  • What do small churches need in order to thrive?
  • Are there things that we can do to together to support small churches?
  • What next steps might we take and with whom?
  • Interactive discussion facilitated by Ron, Marilyn and Aileen helped all participants to dialogue and listen well to one another and prayerfully consider how God might be leading the conversations and emerging insights.

Picture 2 The EFC’s initial steps into the conversation around small churches in Canada is just the first step into determining how best to serve the Canadian evangelical Church, along with our partners. These kinds of consultations that sometimes result in further work and research are excellent examples of work we can do better together, and how that collaboration can benefit the Canadian Church.

Click HERE to download a FREE copy the latest edition of Canada Watch which includes serval important and informative articles including: The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Research Helps Answer Canadian Church Questions.

How you can be involved?

Please continue to pray for the work of the EFC.

As an organization, we want to listen to you and your church. Are there questions you are asking that could be answered by research? Let us know.

Please tell others about the research done by the EFC and its partners. You can find reports of previous projects at

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
National Office

Mail: Box 5885, West Beaver Creek P.O.
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 0B8

Physical: 9821 Leslie St. - Suite 103
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3Y4

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Centre for Faith and Public Life

130 Albert Street, Suite 1810
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Quebec Office / L’Alliance Évangélique du Canada - Québec

12868 rue du Parc-Marchand
Québec (Québec) G2A 1E6