Nearly 60 percent of ‘highly engaged’ Christian parents pick church for kids’ programs: Barna

family, parent, child, children, kids
Unsplash/John-Mark Smith

Nearly six in 10 parents who regularly attend church and believe the Bible is the word of God will choose a church chiefly on the programming it offers children.

A report by the Barna Group released last Thursday found that 58 percent of “highly engaged” Christian parents selected children’s programming as “the primary reason they chose their current church.”

“This suggests that, for churches to attract and retain strong Christian households, children’s programming must be a key part of holistic family ministry,” Barna said.

The report noted that when asked if “children’s program is the primary reason for church choice,” 22 percent of respondents who were “highly engaged” said they “strongly agree” while 36 percent said they “somewhat agree.”

By contrast, 24 percent of highly engaged respondents said they “somewhat disagree” with the statement and 18 percent said they “strongly disagree.”

The report also found that 64 percent of married people’s children attend church every week, which was considerably higher than the 51 percent of single parents’ kids.

“For some, the weeklong work and parenting demands of a typical single parent means less time and energy even for a 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,” explained Barna.

The report drew its data from online surveys conducted Sept. 17, 2018, to Oct.18, 2018, using a sample of 508 U.S. Christian parents of children aged 6 to 12 who are engaged in their faith, with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

Barna produced the report as part of a larger partnership with OneHope, an international children’s ministry based in Pompano Beach, Florida.

The findings on highly engaged Christians and how they pick a church is part of a broader published report titled Guiding Children to Discover the Bible, Navigate Technology & Follow Jesus.

“Today, there are more demands on kids’ and parents’ time, children are exposed to sensitive topics much sooner, and parents are forced to find new ways to pass down biblical thinking in a world that often opposes Christian values,” explained the 80-page publication’s description.

“If you recognize the importance of equipping children with the tools they’ll need to mature in faith, this report contains data and insights you can use to minister more intentionally to kids and better support their Christian parents.”

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