In a culture in which young Americans are abandoning faith at an alarming rate, LifeWay Research has released data that points to what could be “the biggest factor predicting” kids’ spiritual health later on in life: Bible reading.
The polling firm, which conducted the associated research last year for the book, “Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith,” surveyed 2,000 Protestant and nondenominational Christians who attend church at least once a month and have kids currently between the ages of 18 and 30.
The parents were asked about 40 factors that could impact their kids’ moral and spiritual development.
Then, they were asked to describe their own kids’ spiritual health based on eight different factors, including self-identity as a Christian, church involvement and regularity of Bible reading.
In the end, based on those factors, LifeWay found that half of the 3,472 adult children whom LifeWay spoke with parents about either didn’t identify as Christians (11 percent) or said they were Christians but didn’t have any spiritual practice (39 percent).
As it turns out, the factor that seemed to have the biggest impact on young adults spiritual condition was Bible reading, with 29 percent of young adults regularly reading the Bible when they were kids — at least according to their parents. That cohort, though, ended up with 12.5 percent higher spiritual health than those who didn’t read the scriptures as kids.
Prayer as a child also raised spiritual health levels by 7.5 percent, with mission trips raising it 6.25 percent, again showing that spiritual action matters and can have deep ramifications for how profoundly one’s faith resonates later on in life
“Practicing your faith — in specific ways — really pays off later in life,” Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement. And Jana Magruder, director of LifeWay Kids and author of “Nothing Less,” added the key take-away: “That God’s Word truly is what changes lives.”
Find out more about the fascinating research here.