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Barna Study | Christian Parents Say Children’s Programming Is Critical When Choosing a Congregation

According to a Barna study, six in 10 churchgoing Christian parents say children’s programming is critical when choosing a congregation. The research is part of another open-ended study, “Guiding Children to Discover the Bible, Navigate Technology & Follow Jesus.”

“[Children] carry big weight when it comes to family decisions about where to worship. This suggests that, for churches to attract and retain strong Christian households, children’s programming must be a key part of holistic family ministry.”

About three in five committed Christian parents reported attending church with their children every week, the study found based on 508 Christian parents sampled. “Attendance at Sunday worship appears quite consistent across age groups of children, hovering in the 80- to 88-percent range across the span of childhood years. Sunday school attendance trails by only a few percentage points across these years. The dedicated truly are dedicated.”

Children who are most active in the church tend to engage with the Bible outside of the church.

“They are also about twice as likely to engage in outreach activities and volunteerism, demonstrating that the level of dedication in this group to the overall mission of the church is not only internally focused but expresses itself in outward action.” As a child becomes more involved in the church community, this may also encourage their faith to grow.

Additionally, three out of five church-engaged parents are very satisfied with their children’s spiritual formation and more likely to rely on their church for the faith development of their kids. “Less church-engaged parents, by comparison, are more likely to look to extended family as key to their child’s faith development (39 percent vs. 30 percent).”

The Jan. 30 published study discovered 64 percent of married Christians attended church every week. This was compared to 51 percent of single parents. Parenting demands on a single parent add time constraints and less time for “family activity that’s very important to them, such as attending church. For others, it may be a logistical issue having to do with weekend custody.”

Additionally, Barna discovered those who have frequented a Christian church service within the past month “other than for a holiday or a special event” do “strongly agree” with the following four principles of the faith:

  1. “Bible is the inspired Word of God and contains truth about the world.”
  2. “Jesus Christ was crucified and raised from the dead to conquer sin and death.”
  3. “They have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today.”
  4. “They desire to pass faith on to their child.”

Written by Corine Gatti-Santillo

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