Religious Activities And The Family

As we studied the religious activities each family engaged in during this case study several questions came to mind: What are all of the religious activities they engaged in throughout the day? Which activities brought each individual family together? What caused them to disperse? In what other ways did the religious activities influence the behavior of these families?

Each family seemed to come together on Sundays to attend church, and on religious holidays like Easter. This pattern is consistent with all the families in the study including the single parents.  The single parents attend with their children and immediate families', and the singles, like Aaron, spend time with siblings and/or parents at church and Easter dinner.

All other religious activities, however, were usually attended separately. Events like bible study, small groups, listening to radio broadcasts and other religious media, and kids' groups cause each member of the majority of the families to disband to their preferred religious group or activities. One exception was newly married couples without children. Example such as the Ransoms, the Baldwins, and the Hanagans all, for the most part, even attended these religious sub-groups regularly.

What is also interesting is that even though the single parents we studied did not attend the religious sub-groups together with their families as much as the newly married couples with no children, these parents spent a lot of intentional time with the kids discussing religion with them. Both Christy and Tammy spent time, often at the dinner table or during car rides, talking to their children about religious topics. This seemed to bring those families together as well.

Another interesting thing about the study is the other ways religious activities influence these families. It seems that the families that express the spirituality, and express in their journal how their religious activities influenced them that day were families that were strained by intense trials. Some examples: Tammy struggling through the after math of her divorce, Aaron dealing with his break-up with his girlfriend, the Ransoms encountering the struggles in a young marriage. All these families and individuals were more influenced by their religious activities than families with manageable trials.

After discovering these patterns within these families we are now left with other questions. When these families go to church together do they sit together, or do they disperse within the congregation? For the newly married couples without kids, when they have children will they attempt to include them (the kids) in the religious activities, or will the presence of children make that impossible

© 2010 Focus on the Family.