There was a time (I’m sounding old) when community activities were never planned on Sunday mornings. There was never such a thing as a soccer or little league practice scheduled for the time when most families were in church. That has changed. Now children’s sporting events are routinely scheduled on Sunday mornings. In fact, new research suggests that children’s sports contributes significantly to the decline in church attendance.
My question: Why would Christian parents let their kids be in sports when that keeps them from going to church?
From Christianity Today (for the links to the research, go to the site):
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).