Religion rebranded lures young Canadians

Toronto, Canada - Evangelical Christians are no longer just serving up "that old-time religion" to draw new worshippers – especially young Canadians – into the flock.

Revealed: Hip 2B Holy, a documentary airing tonight at 10 on Global, shows that a surprising number of conservative Christians are turning to modern music and dance, and holding services in cinema multiplexes to "rebrand" traditional religious values.

"They seem to be in the middle of a significant rebranding exercise for conservative Protestant faith and are making significant inroads among curious young Canadians," said Global National anchor Kevin Newman, who hosts and also co-wrote and co-produced the documentary, in an interview.

The documentary introduces people such as 25-year-old Nate Gerber, a musician and hip-hop dancer, and Rev. Carey Nieuwhof of Barrie, who has seen a surge of members to his breakaway congregation, Connexus Community Church.

While many Protestant denominations have seen church attendance decline since the 1960s, Newman said viewers may be surprised to see where the recent upsurge in support for evangelical Christianity is coming from.

"What surprised me about this was that this is a movement that is not sort of western and rural. It's a 416/905 phenomenon as much as it is anywhere else in the country," he said.

"Here's a strain of the Christian church that is growing by double digits, is useful, fun, energetic and is attracting people at a rate that no other Protestant sect is."