There’s no question that Americans aren’t as religious (as it were) about attending Sunday morning services as they once were. Why? Are Americans growing more secular? Does church not appeal to them? Do they simply not know what to bring for the after-service potluck supper? Well, maybe. However, a new survey suggests another possible reason: their kids’ soccer games. According to the study, published in the Review of Religious Research, pastors in 16 denominations believe children’s sporting activities a least partly explain why their sanctuaries are a bit more empty on Sundays. With practices and games being scheduled during times typically reserved for church, it’s bound to cut into attendance. Some of these families attend church anyway—but they go during untraditional times such as Saturday evening. Many churches say that if they offer their own sports programs, their congregations actually tend to grow. (Christianity Today)
Paul Asay has covered religion for The Washington Post, Christianity Today, Beliefnet.com and The (Colorado Springs) Gazette. He writes about culture for Plugged In and wrote the Batman book God on the Streets of Gotham (Tyndale). He lives in Colorado Springs with wife, Wendy, and two children. Follow him on Twitter.