Last spring, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) conducted the Parenting Faith survey in partnership with Focus on the Family Canada. Recently, they published their findings in a 254-page report. This uniquely Canadian research identifies what helps and hinders the transmission of faith from this generation of parents to their children.

The main takeaway for many is that the data reinforces the fact that church attendance is down, which can be disheartening to read. But we shouldn’t lose heart – the report also finds that 99 per cent of parents surveyed say their role in faith formation is to teach and model their faith to their children.

That’s very encouraging, and it affirms the work Focus is doing every day for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends who are helping children grow in their faith.

I want to share a few other highlights from this report and what I believe are opportunities for equipping parents to deepen their children’s faith:

  • From generation to generation, there are significant shifts in how parents view and carry out their role as shapers of faith in their children’s lives. Many respondents recall their own parents requiring unquestioning obedience to religion and not offering explanations about faith. In contrast, surveyed parents indicate they want to provide their children with more explanation for the faith and empower them to accept, reject or question Christianity. These parents prefer to discuss faith with their children, and often do so casually during “transitional moments” (e.g., driving in the car from one activity to another). Unlike their parents’ generation, they prefer role modelling over teaching, and are replacing traditional faith-forming habits like reading the Bible, praying or sharing personal testimonies with conversational opportunities. While there’s always opportunity for one generation to learn from another, I find this an encouraging shift for children as they watch their parents live out their faith.

  • When it comes to seeking help in forming the faith of their children, surveyed parents look to their peers and podcasts. Very few parents found help in parenting courses offered by churches or ministry organizations. Parents do feel supported in their own faith development through their local church, but not necessarily in their parenting journey. At Focus on the Family Canada, this insight is extremely helpful as we seek new ways to equip parents in faith formation through online articles, our broadcast, free magazine and more.

  • Based on this survey, ministry experts believe that surveyed parents are not equipping themselves in their approach to their children’s faith formation. By contrast, the surveyed parents are confident that they are doing a good job with faith formation and that they would not change anything in what they currently do. There’s a great opportunity here for bridges of understanding to be built between churches and parents – and we hope the work of Focus on the Family Canada can be a support to everyone seeking to help the next generation of children deepen their faith.

As a father of two teenage daughters, I understand the desire to have authentic, meaningful connection with my children and to demonstrate my faith through my actions. That’s why I’m thankful that Focus on the Family Canada remains committed to supporting families at every stage of life. As the survey results indicate a desire for authenticity, our ministry will continue to create quality resources that equip parents to have these conversations with their children and to model their faith for them.

If there’s any way we can support you in your parenting journey, our care and counselling team is here for you. Our registered Christian counsellors offer free, one-time phone consultations, and we also refer to local counsellors across the country. Our care team is ready to pray with you for whatever burdens are on your heart. Call us at 1.800.661.9800 or email us at [email protected]. Parenting is a beautiful and complex path, and you don’t have to navigate it alone.


Jean-Paul Beran, MA
Focus on the Family Canada