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A Quick Question

Does the Modern American Family have enough time for Church?

The quick answer --  No! At least according to half the pastors interviewed in a recent study.

The longer answer -- In a recent survey of religious leaders in upstate New York, half of them thought not having enough time in a family's busy schedule was the major problem facing families in their communities.

Penny Edgell (Becker), associate professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, directed the study and found that increased time at work is directly related to reduced religious involvement. But it is not time at work alone that strains participation but also how it is scheduled and the competition from other community activities during the traditionally sacred Sunday morning "holy hours." 

For both men and women, long hours spent at work is related to lower levels of church attendance, less involvement in other congregational ministries, and a reduced sense of the importance of religion. And for women, involvement in congregational activities peaks among those who work part-time, but declines as the number of hours at work increases.

Other findings from her study suggest, however, that when churches are sensitive to the scheduling needs of busy dual-earner families they can attract them as members, as worship participants and as users of ministries.

If you would like to read more of Dr. Edgell's research and findings from this study, go to our section on research on religion and the family.

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