Church attendance is on a rapid decline. The “nones,” survey respondents who say they have no religious affiliation, are the fastest-growing group in the United States every year. We now have a generation of adults that grew up not attending worship services weekly, and they are raising their children in a similar fashion.
Research shows that children who attend weekly worship services have higher GPAs, score higher on standardized tests, and are less likely to be held back a grade. They also are more likely to achieve a bachelor’s degree in college.
In a 2018 study, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found some surprising benefits to children and adolescents who attend weekly worship. It turns out that children and teens who attend church grow up to be young adults with higher rates of reported happiness and life satisfaction. They were less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, less likely to use illicit drugs, and less likely to engage in early sex and contract sexually transmitted infections.
What a burden could be lifted from our children if they had a place to go each week that offered them that grace. How much better could they cope with a bad day, knowing that each moment offers a fresh start? How much more resilient could our children become?
Rev. Curtis Ehrgott