A majority of parents in churches believe children's ministries should address current events and "difficult subjects," according to a new Barna survey.
The poll found that 75 percent of churched parents of children ages 5-14 answered "yes" when asked if a children's ministry "should address current events, social topics, mental health or potentially difficult subjects." One-fourth (24 percent) said such topics should not be broached.
Among children's ministry leaders, 78 percent support it, while among all churched adults – those with young children and those without young children – 75 percent back it.
"Deciding what current events and issues to address in your children's ministry can be challenging, but it's helpful to know that a majority of parents, churched adults and children's ministry leaders support the idea of taking on these challenging topics," Barna said in an analysis.
Barna asked, "Do you believe children's ministry should address current events, social topics, mental health or potentially difficult subjects."
The findings are from new Barna research created in partnership with Awana titled Children's Ministry in a New Reality.
Meanwhile, a 2022 Barna report found that the overwhelming majority of churched parents are concerned about the spiritual development of their children.
The 2022 poll found that 84 percent of "practicing Christian parents" are concerned about their child's spiritual development, with 51 percent being "very concerned." (Barna defines "practicing Christian parents" as "self-identified Christians who have attended a worship service within the past month and strongly agree their faith is very important to their life.”) A similar amount (86 percent) of practicing Christian parents say they are concerned about whether their child will "stay true to their spiritual faith," with 58 percent saying they are "very concerned."
Compared to the general population and self-identified Christians, practicing Christian parents "express the most concern" and "want their children to stay true to their Christian faith," a Barna analysis said.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.