Why Your Kids Can Spend 600-Plus Hours in Church and Not Get Much Out of It

by Natasha Crain

The other day I was reflecting on how much time I spent in Sunday school and youth groups growing up…and how little I understood about the Christian faith by the time I left home. For some reason, I decided to calculate roughly how much time that actually was.

I scratched out the following on a piece of paper:

  • Kindergarten through 12th grade = 13 years (I went to church from the time I was a baby, but I just wanted to include the core learning years in my calculation)
  • 52 Sundays per year
  • 90% attendance rate, to allow for illnesses or being out of town

13 years of Sunday school x 52 Sundays per year x .90 attendance rate = 608 hours

608 HOURS.

And that’s not even counting the corresponding worship services…that’s just the Christian education time!

I don’t know about you, but that number made my jaw drop.

I spent more than 600 hours in church growing up, but by the time I left home, here’s all I really understood about Christianity:

People go to heaven or hell depending on whether or not they believe in Jesus. Once you accept Jesus, you are saved. Christians need to be as good as possible and not sin just to be forgiven. It’s important to tell others about Jesus so they can be saved too.

The result is that I lived the next 12 years with an incredibly blah, shallow faith. I didn’t actually lose my faith—as do more than two-thirds of other kids who grow up going to church—but it was only hanging there by a thread.

Where did those 600+ hours of Christian education go? How can it be that so many kids spend this kind of time in church and don’t leave home with much more understanding of Christianity than could be taught in a week of church camp?

I think I know the answer…

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Why Your Kids Can Spend 600-Plus Hours in Church and Not Get Much Out of It