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 ...1