Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The fastest growing "religious" group in America is...

Did you know that over 110 million Americans tuned in to watch the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers Sunday evening?   That means that 46.3% of all Americans were tuned in for the big show down.  Nielson reported that 71% of all television were tuned into CBS for the game.  That is impressive! 

Sports are a huge part of many peoples lives.  We play them, we watch them, we want to grow up to be a professional one and we look up to them. 

Trust me, I am no different.  I grew up with a picture of Cobi Jones in my bedroom and dreamed of one day being a professional soccer player.  Currently, I am a huge Titans and Tennessee Volunteers fan (notice all the orange in my newsletters?)  And I, along with about 30 other youth and volunteers gathered in the youth room this past Sunday to watch the great showdown between the brothers.

Now I wanted to state a few facts and statistics that I found…

So as stated before,

 46.3% of Americans Watched the Super Bowl.

Last year, 28% of American adults left the faith in which they were raised in

In adults aged 18-29, one-in-four do not claim any affiliation with a particular religion.

Less than 20% of Americans attend church regularly

In a survey done of children ages 6-12 spend their time and how much time per week was spent on each activity.  The results are as followed…

Age 6-8 
Age 9-12 
70 hrs, 44 minutes a week
Personal care 
Household work 
Other leisure 
Art activities 
Family talks 

In a study conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute, there are two places that a child or youth can develop their faith and learn in a way that can prepare them for all the obstacles that life will throw at them.  The first and most important one was family.  Having a strong relationship with your family and being able to communicate with them.  Nothing even compares to the effect being able to talk openly with your family about what is going on in your life or about your faith.

The second was the church.  Often times children look to their church children or youth groups as a place where they can connect with other people their age that can help them and talk with them about what is going on in their lives.

So now if we look back at the study, we have almost 2 hours a week that is spent on those 2 activities combined.

Now, I do not think anything can replace the importance of family.  But I do think that the church should also be a very important part of a children’s development.  It was why I am still involved with the church.  I was forced to be active when I was younger.  Yes.  I said it.  Forced.  But I guess somewhere along the way, I couldn’t help but go.
I understand the feeling of being tired on a Sunday morning.  I almost always wake up and think…“I just want to sleep in!”  If I didn’t have this job or teach a Sunday school class, in all honesty I would probably miss every now and then.  

But is that right?

Let’s look back at that list.  I feel that even adults can sub work for the school section and it still is pretty close to accurate.

Sleep.  Well it’s necessary to function.

School/ work. Mandatory.

Playing.  That’s just fun

Television.  Well, it’s normally on while I am doing something else or while I’m eating.

Eating.  Necessary for life.

Church.  Well, if I skip Sunday school I can still make it to church. 

Church.  I just went to sleep a few hours ago, I’m still tired.  I’ll go next week.

Church…I’ll make up an excuse and keep saying it until I believe it.

Why is that where we make the exception?  We will force and bend and flex our schedules around everything.  I must make it to that party.  I have to play at least 3 sports this season.  I need to be a part of this group at school so it looks good on my college applications.

Yes, that is great.  You should do all the things you want to.  If you like playing basketball, you should.  If you want to be a part of FCA or be Vice President of German Club, awesome! Do it! (Yes, I was VP of German Club in High School).

It is great to have those goals and great to have the ambition to go out and make it happen.  But then we are burned out and tired and just looking for a place to slack.  So we pick the church.  That place we know forgives us.  That’s kind of their thing, right?

We want to squeeze everything into our already over packed schedule and the things that normally get squeezed out are the two most important. 

If merely 2 hours are spent at church or talking with your family, where does a child learn about God?  Explore their faith. 

Why is it ok that we put the church on the backburner while we live our lives?

One last statistic,

The fastest growing “religious” group in America is…atheism.

Wonder if the two can be connected at all…

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