National charities Care for the Family and HOPE have launched a new report that will give fresh insights into how best to encourage Christian parents to nurture their children’s faith at home.
The research revealed that despite 95% of parents acknowledging it was largely their responsibility to teach their children Christian faith, 92% admitted they could be doing more.
Less than three-quarters of parents said they shared Bible stories with their children and only 27% found it helpful talking about faith with them.
According to Christian Research, the Church in the UK will have lost an estimated 1.1 million children between 1990 and 2020. They also predict that in the year 2020, 183,700 children aged under-15 will attend church compared to 375,300 in 2010 unless action is taken.
Care for the Family, a national charity that aims to strengthen family life, and supports families of all faiths and none claims their research demonstrates that parents, not church leaders, are their children’s biggest influencers when it comes to encouraging faith in their children – but many feel ill-equipped or simply don’t know where to start.
Barriers to nurturing faith include family time being devoted to other activities and lack of confidence.
The new research builds on earlier findings from a study by Barna on behalf of HOPE, the Church of England and Evangelical Alliance in 2015, and previous estimates that only 50% of the children of Christian parents grow up with a personal faith of their own as adults.
“If we are to see children and young people continuing in faith in our churches, we need to help Christian parents to nurture their children’s spirituality,” said Roy Crowne, Executive Director of HOPE.
“Most children spend only an hour or so a week in a church context compared to, probably, 30 hours with their parents – and that creates a challenge when we consider the balance of resources going into nurturing children directly through the church compared to helping parents nurture their children’s faith at home.”
Over the next few years Care for the Family aims to produce more materials specifically for parents, and resources that churches can use to raise awareness among their congregations.
Katharine Hill, UK Director at Care for the Family, said: “By working with churches to give families encouragement, ideas and resources, we hope to see a significant increase in the number of children from Christian families who grow up to have a vibrant, personal relationship with God as adults.”
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