Then pay close attention to the following. It seems too good to be true.
What if I told you there was a well-researched and statistically proven program that on average can:
- increase the average life expectancy of your children by 8 years
- significantly reduce your child’s use and risk from Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
- dramatically lower their risk of suicide
- help them rebound from depression 70% faster
- dramatically reduce their risk for committing a crime
- improve their attitude at school and increase their school participation
- reduce their risk for rebelliousness
- reduce the likelihood that they would binge drink in college
- improve their odds for a “very happy” life
- provide them with a life-long moral compass
- get them to wear their seatbelts more often
- and statistically improve the odds that they will lead an active church life in their adults years
Is there such a program?
Yes, there is.
And it is supported by research from Duke University, Indiana University, The University of Michigan, The Center for Disease Control, Barna Research Group, and the National Institute for Healthcare Research.
How much would a program like this be worth to you? What if I told you it was free, and only took about an hour or two a week. Take a look at the list again. It’s not a dream.
The program is called “active church participation.”
In study, after study, after study, children who actively and consistently engage in a church on a regular basis are rewarded with SIGNIFICANTLY reduced likelihood of problems and risks, and significantly improved odds of a happier, healthier, longer life. These studies show the same results for adults as well.
And numerous surveys, including a 2009 Survey by the Barna Research Group, continue to show a strong statistical connection between a young person being “active” in the life of a church and being active when they are adults. (Read Barna’s 2009 survey on the long term effects of active participation).
To increase the odds of receiving these results, you can’t wait. According to a Barna Research Group study, adults who attended church regularly as children are nearly three times as likely to be attending a church today as their peers who avoided church during childhood (61% to 22%, respectively). In other words, parents who truly want the best for their children should get their children involved at church now and regularly.
Our secular culture has taken up preaching “parents (as) the anti-drug,” promoting D.A.R.E. programs, school uniforms, afterschool programs, and athletics as solutions to various ills. And yet, a whole host of problems plaguing young people have only become worse over the last 30 years. Perhaps not so coincidentally, church attendance has fallen over that same period. The latest tremor to rock the “what works” lobby has been several studies that indicate D.A.R.E. and its 700 million dollar budget doesn’t work.
Participating in a church stimulates intellectual, social and spiritual development. Church life provides many young people with an extended family. It teaches children and youth to develop their internal life, which is a proven stress-reliever. Church offers supervised peer groups, and interaction with role models. Church life allows children to see their parents demonstrating their values and engaging the world outside of the home. Church life causes them to manage their priorities and challenges them to lead less self-centered lives. Lessons, sermons, Bible passages and programs open up young people to a world of ideas. All of these things (and more) highlight the impact of the “village” in raising a child, …not to mention the life benefits from knowing God.
In a search for “what works,” researchers keep turning up “active participation” in a “faith community” as the one consistent potent factor in raising up children in the way they should go. It’s time for our church to speak up on this matter, beginning with our parents.
Jesus once said, “What parent, knowing that it is bread that really works, would give their child a stone?”
To view the sources of these statistics, visit http://www.sundaysoftware.com/stats.htm