It's no secret that church attendance is on the decline. It has been for years now. What has been a secret is one of the major reasons for this downward spiral:
There were few Easter Christians, individuals who show up for worship one or two days a year, among the earliest followers of the faith.
Facing penalties "like hanging -- that tends to clear the head," the
Rev. Aidan Kavanagh, the late liturgy professor at Yale Divinity School,
Christians in the United States no longer need fear persecution for
missing services. Demanding schedules, many of which revolve around
youth sports, are the new competition for congregations.
Fichter surveyed 341 Catholics in one congregation who reported
attending only on Easter and Christmas. He said he thought many people
would cite disagreement with church teachings or negative experiences.
But only 7 percent of respondents gave either of those reasons.
More than two-thirds said the reason they attend only twice a year
was that they were too busy with other commitments. Sixteen percent
admitted they were lazy. Fichter reported the findings at the joint
annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and
the Religious Research Association.
The 2008 Faith Communities Today survey looked at obstacles to regular participation in church,
including driving distance, fear of crime and work schedule conflicts.
But school- and sports-related activities -- true for urban, suburban
and rural congregations -- were the biggest challenges. More than a
third of congregations said it was somewhat or quite a bit of an issue.
I'm not sure how the church is supposed to combat this influence. It's
not that sports are a bad thing, growing up both of my children were
involved with all manner of school sports and travel teams and competitions. But during the time they were involved, the sports world still respected Sunday's and Wednesday's.To get a better idea of how this has changed, read the entire article...