Does Parenthood Increase Churchgoing?

Children can act as a catalyst for parents to return to church, but a new study by the Barna Group says this isn’t the norm. Only 17% of parents studied said their church attendance was related to having children, and only 5% said having children helped them become active in a church for the first time. 4% of those surveyed admitted that they became less active in church after having children, and 47% of churchgoing Christian parents said their children had no bearing on their church life. David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, said “parenthood might help clarify and enhance people’s pursuit of spirituality, but it does not usually alter a parent’s spiritual trajectory.” He also advised that since more and more young women are waiting to have children, it is important not to wait—as some pastors have admitted to doing—until young people become parents in order to start addressing their spiritual connections and beliefs. Notably, attendees of large churches were more likely than were those attending smaller congregations to increase their level of church involvement after parenthood; the survey speculated that larger churches may be more attentive to the needs of families.