Sunday used to be a day reserved by many Christians for attending worship services, but new research indicates the extent to which American churches today are competing against myriad other activities.
The biggest competition? Children’s sports.
According to a new study published in the Review of Religious Research, an examination of declining attendance at 16 congregations revealed that many pastors place the most blame on children’s sports activities, since both practices and competitions are increasingly “scheduled on Sunday mornings at the very time when many churches traditionally have provided religious education.”
But that doesn’t mean that families whose kids are highly involved in athletics will stop attending church (though that does seem to be the case among churches that stigmatize parents who miss church for sports, as the Association of Religion Data Archives’s David Briggs points out).
Read more at http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/04/the-main-reason-for-declining-church-attendance-childrens-sports.html
I didn’t purchase the study to read it. But the summary seems to indicate that pastors put “the most blame” for declining church attendance on kids sports. First, what does “the most blame” mean? More than 50% of all the reasons for declining attendance? Or just the largest single reason among many, but well below 50%? No matter which, this thesis is kind of hard to believe.
To know the real answer (or answers), you have to ask the people who have stopped going to church why they don’t go anymore — not pastors who are probably just speculating. But of course a large number of those leaving churches just leave. They don’t generally fill out a survey on the way out telling why they’re leaving.