According to some, the Church may have an opportunity to save the departing masses with a few key strategies. 

A recent U.S. study states that up to 42 million young adults raised in Christian homes will be leaving the Church in the next 30 years.

Despite these numbers, Rodney Neufeld, Youth Ministry Leader at Abundant Life Baptist Church in Winnipeg, is hopeful. 

"I get nervous of predictions, we just need to understand their culture," Neufeld says. "I am seeing growth. I was almost overwhelmed by just the pure desire to come, engage, learn, and talk about God." 

For Neufeld, it isn't a question of how to stop young adults from leaving but how to meet them where they are. "We need to approach each generation in their way. Keep the purity and truth of the gospel, just change the delivery," Neufeld says.

"Remind them of their importance and their value to God."

According to the youth pastor, the Church must "try to understand them. They have such great value, and they are the next generation of the Church. Remind them of their importance and their value to God. I don't think we can tell them that enough. I don't think we can tell each other that enough.

"They need to be nurtured and they need us to speak into their lives, but, we need to do it in their language," Neufeld says.

Differences between Canadian and U.S. faith experiences

Joel Thiessen, Professor of Sociology at Ambrose University in Calgary, says Canada and the United States are tackling different issues when it comes to young adults leaving the Church.

"In the US, one of the distinctive differences is how politicized religion is and how strongly tied evangelical expressions of Christianity are with politics. So, for many who are leaving the Church, in some ways, it's a reaction against that strong fusion between religion and politics. This is somewhat present in Canada but it's not as strongly felt," Thiessen says.

According to Thiessen and his research, there are stages of decline and it's taking place from one generation to the next. 

"They are leaving the Christian faith in part because they didn't have a particularly strong sense of connection to that Christian faith growing up. Simply put, parents haven't taken things as 'religiously' as previous generations have, and that's sort of the main feeder to young adults," Thiessen says.

"Churches that are doing that more effectively, seem to have more young people sticking around."

He acknowledges that there are areas seeing growth.

"The places where it is happening, churches and congregations are speaking to real-world issues. Churches that have created spaces to find connection with other people of similar age but also from older adult influences who are mentoring them, who are providing some guidance and direction in life, well, there's a strong community component to that," Thiessen says. 

He says reaching young adults can be done through "keychain leadership."

"When young people are given areas of leadership within the Church, this is a really key component for both drawing young people in and also retaining them. Churches that are doing that more effectively, seem to have more young people sticking around," Thiessen says.

Amongst all of this, there is one issue he believes the Canadian church is forgetting. "There is a lot of attention on people leaving the Church and it's worthy of attention. But, another parallel shift is the growth of those who are not even raised in the Church and say that they have no religion. As each generation successively becomes less and less religious than the previous one, it's less likely that people will be raised with any kind of religion in Canada more so than the US," Thiessen says.

Thiessen and Neufeld both believe it's up to the Church to make up the difference and reach the next generation.