Jump directly to the content

The Main Reason for Declining Church Attendance: Children's Sports?

Roundup of new religion research finds link.

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).

Instead, more Protestant churches are offering alternate service times to accommodate members with Sunday morning commitments. They're also increasing their emphasis on physical fitness programs or sports ministries.

According to Briggs (whose ARDA research roundup is worth reading), "More than two-thirds of congregations who said sports and fitness programs were a specialty of the congregation reported more than a 10 percent growth in attendance from 2000 to 2010. In contrast, only a third of churches with no athletic programs reported such growth."

CT previously has reported on the topic of sports and how Christians have 'succumbed to the sports culture.'

Related Topics:None
Posted:April 8, 2013 at 10:12AM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Stem Cell Concerns Don't Freeze Evangelical Enthusiasm for Ice Bucket Challenge
(UPDATED) ALS raises $100 million in 30 days; pro-life groups worry about embryonic research.
One of Largest Christian Colleges Decides Divorcing President Can Keep His Job
Alma mater of Ebola doctor Kent Brantly believes in 'covenant of marriage' but also 'power of grace.'
Nine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
(UPDATED) Mars Hill responds Friday to leaked letter, says 'our team is Jesus, not one group of elders or another.'
Israel’s Christian Schools Threaten Strike over Government's 'Oppressive Steps'
'Don’t stop us from carrying on our mission,' say 50 schools as Jewish state slashes support.
Christianity Today
The Main Reason for Declining Church Attendance: Children's ...