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Like Parents...Like Kids

Gen Z kids have a lot in common with their Millennial parents...even when it comes to religion. 

Recent research by Pew shows that 80% of parents who say they are evangelical have a child that also identifies as the same.

Gen Z rates of church attendance and prayer also are tied to their parents’ religious practices. 44% of Gen Z kids say they attend services as often as their parents do.  This is accurate with 43% of their parents attending the same number of times each month.

Look at this breakdown.  You can see that nearly half of Gen Z kids hold the same religious beliefs as their parents.

  • 48% have same beliefs

  • 43% have some of the same religious beliefs 

  • 8% have beliefs that are quite different

  • 1% had no answer

There are some variances with Gen Z and their parents.  And differences can run in both directions.  Some nonreligious parents have highly religious children and visa versus. But for the most part, it comes down to like parents...like kids.  

Church attendance tends to be a family activity.  Among parents who attend religious services (at least once or twice a month), 88% have a Gen Z kid who says they also attend that often.  And on the flip side, parents who only attend church services a few times a year, have a Gen Z kid who does the same.

Why do Gen Z kids go to church?  38% say the attend mainly because their parents want them to.  35% say they attend because they want to. 43% of parents say religion is important in their life.  Contrast this to their children.  36% say religion is important in their lives.

Gen Z kids (69%) look to their parents for practical advice and with determining right from wrong.  26% say they look to friends and 15% say they look to teachers for help.  

It comes down to this - Gen Z's religious life is tied to their families' spiritual traditions.  Research shows that parents have a huge impact on their children's religious behaviors.  This includes not only church attendance, but every day beliefs and guidance (90%).

Help parents see what priorities God wants us to have as a family.  Some church-going parents consider their child's spiritual life to be less important than their child being financially successful or going to college. They put high importance on their child being hardworking and helpful to those around them.  These are good things and are good goals, but the most important goal should be for the child to grow up to love and follow Jesus. 

  • A survey about this revealed that 90% of parents say it's important for their child to work hard.

  • 73% say it's very important that their child goes to college.

  • Only 55% say it's important that their that their child is raised in their religion.

We have a great opportunity to come alongside parents and help them see what matters most when raising children.  One key way you can do this is through spiritual milestones.  These are key times when you can help parents see God's plan for the family to grow in their faith and serve Him.  You can get more information about spiritual milestones at this link. 


Make your church a place where kids enjoy being. The goal is to have kids dragging their parents to church instead of parents having to drag their children to church.  You can get lots of great ideas from my book "If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry."

Influence parents.  We know parents are the biggest influence in a child's life.  If we are going to see kids grow up to love Jesus, then we've got to influence parents to raise their kids to love and follow Jesus. Always be thinking of ways you can involve and inspire parents to invest in their children spiritually.

It's true...Like Parents...Like Kids.  Influence parents and you will influence their kids. 


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