The Impact on Kids of Dad’s Faith and Church Attendance

This is one of the more inconvenient truths about the Christian faith. Especially with our current “leadership”.

The facts are these:

But all these factors and statistics aside, here’s what’s really striking: when you see the research on the impact of a dad’s faith and practice on their families.

According to data collected by Promise Keepers and Baptist Press, if a father does not go to church, even if his wife does, only 1 child in 50 will become a regular worshiper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of what the mother does, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will attend church as adults. If a father attends church irregularly, between half and two-thirds of their kids will attend church with some regularity as adults.

If a mother does not go to church, but a father does, a minimum of two-thirds of their children will end up attending church. In contrast, if a father does not go to church, but the mother does, on average two-thirds of their children will not attend church. 

Another study, focused on Sunday School, found similar results on the impact of fathers:

* When both parents attend Bible study in addition to the Sunday service, 72% of their children attend Sunday school when grown.

* When only the father attends Sunday school, 55% of the children attend when grown.

* When only the mother attends Sunday school, 15% of the children attend when grown.

* When neither parent attends Sunday school, only 6% of the children attend when grown.

Another survey found that if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5% probability everyone else in the household will follow. If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17% probability everyone else in the household will follow. However, when the father is first, there is a 93% probability everyone else in the household will follow. 

Here’s the point of all these statistics: Dad’s impact on the kids’ faith and practice is HUGE.

What is to be done?

The grim, but rather enlightening conclusion: Fathers who loathe the current Church leadership will have to remain in the church, and either break the studiously incompetent church bureaucracy, or set up a network of home churches, or set up an independent church.

There’s no real escape from our responsibility before God.

Handing it to Mom just won’t cut it.

The grind of hard work, networking, and elbow grease calls, if we wish to be free to shape our society, and live as we wish… instead of living as politically connected secularists wish.

What we cannot do — if we want the Christian church to regain its proper usage as the great tool for expanding the Kingdom of God — is just up and leave the church.

Corporate worship cannot be dispensed with. We need a place to communicate, plan, teach, strengthen, and launch the expansion of the Kingdom into the outer world.

But, it need not be in the stagnant, bureaucratic style that is obviously failing today.

Alternatives exist.


[Side note: I am speaking of the church as “an organized group of local believers that worship together” as opposed to its greater meaning, “all those who have become part of the Body of Christ: past, present, and future.”]

Theology for the People

Dream Lake landscape  Rocky Mountain National Park

According to LifeWay Research Group, Fathers Day is the holiday with the single lowest average church attendance – statistically lower than Labor Day, Memorial Day and even the Fourth of July.

This is interesting, especially when you consider that Mothers Day tends to be the day with the third highest church service attendance, after Easter and Christmas.

So, Mothers Day is one of the most highly attended Sundays of the year, and Fathers Day is one of the lowest. What does this tell us?

Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, gives this assessment:

“Clearly, mothers want to be present for the affirmation that is typically offered in most churches, but families also are present knowing their attendance will honor their mother.

The attendance difference between Mothers Day and Fathers Day is telling,” said McConnell. “Either churches are less effective in affirming fathers, or families believe Christian fathers don’t value their…

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