Thursday, August 27, 2009

why PKs leave the church...

PKs have a reputation. Everybody knows that... and even though we try our best, there are generations of bitter pastors' kids who make all of us tremble when we think about raising our own.

I recently read the results of a study that asked "What influences do ministry parents have that affect whether their kids stay in the church?"

This study asked 111 questions of clergy parents across the Mid-Western states of North America to find answers. I wrote the researcher, Dr. Martin Weber, for permission to share his findings. Here's what he discovered:

* Parental conservatism regarding lifestyle standards is not statistically significant in attrition.
* Legalism regarding gospel doctrine (soteriology) is a moderately significant cause of attrition.
* Legalism regarding practicing the principles of the gospel is a major cause of attrition.
* For clergy parents to hold their own children to a higher behavioral standard is one of the highest causes of attrition.
* Lack of relationality in the pastoral family is the most serious cause of PK (pastors’ kids) attrition. Pastors with the highest retention rate of adult children are those who managed to provide the most positive and “fun” family experience in the parsonage and were close enough to talk about anything in an atmosphere of freedom that allowed children and teens latitude in developing their own faith experience.
* The greatest predictor of future faithfulness as an adult is whether the PK during growing up years takes initiative to approach a clergy parent to discuss spiritual matters.
* Closely associated with family relationality is the freedom and trust expressed in discussing controversial issues. There is no greater cause of attrition than to attempt to shield children from knowledge of, or to resist discussion about, church or denominational conflict.
* Congregational criticism of pastoral family members portends future attrition of adult children.
* There is definite significance between the experience of entering the pastorate during one’s 30s and the future attrition of one’s children.
* Having a clergy grandparent is a stabilizing factor in the spiritual life of a PK.

Dr. Weber also says that the three most significant factors in avoiding attrition are:

1. Being able to discuss church problems at home, while
2. Managing to sustain joy and togetherness in the family circle, and
3. Giving teens freedom to develop their own faith experience without the expectations of being super saints because they are the pastor's kids.

To read more of Dr. Weber's research, articles or books click HERE.

This post was taken from CLUTCH

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