Church Attendance and Student Achievement

Sam Rainer

August 23, 2008

The Sociological Quarterly published a notable research report on student achievement and church attendance.The bottom line of the report: students who attend church weekly have higher GPAs. Additionally, they are less likely to drop out of school and connect better with other students in school. The entire journal article can be read here. also reported on the research:

Students who attend religious services weekly average a GPA .144 higher than those who never attend services…The study does not suggest God is smiling on the students, per se. Rather, it identifies several reasons the students do better:

– They have regular contact with adults from various generations who serve as role models.
– Their parents are more likely to communicate with their friends’ parents.
– They develop friendships with peers who have similar norms and values.
– They’re more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.

What I find most fascinating about this secular research is the importance of attending church. In order to raise student achievement, the student must be attending a church regularly. An emphasis on religion was not enough to boost student achievement – they must be involved in a local church.

This empirical tidbit from the Sociological Quarterly presents a catch-22. As revealed in the research in my book, Essential Church, 70% of those that drop out of the church will do so between the ages of 18 and 22. Now even secular research is demonstrating the need for churches to connect better with the younger generation. And it’s distressing that the church is losing these students at the same time that it could be providing them the most guidance.

7 comments on “Church Attendance and Student Achievement”

  1. kdb1411 says:

    Fascinating information. As always, thanks for keeping us informed.

  2. soon2binNC says:

    This is definitely motivating to attend Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday Night church. It would boost my GPA by almost .5! That is how it works right?

  3. Sam Rainer says:

    Soon2b – unfortunately, your math is a little off. Sunday morning equates to a .144 increase. But Sunday evening only adds .07. And Wed night only adds .03, unless you bring a homemade dish to the potluck, then you can add an additional .02.

  4. Good stuff Sam! I will definitely pass it on to our students and student leaders!

  5. Benny says:

    So I guess attending church regularly as teens tends to make them literally become, “too smart for their own good” as young adults when they decide to drop out, right? 😉

    Seriously though I think it has to mean those in the church influencing youth people had better not be wasting time playing games and doing bible study “lite”. The young people may just be getting smart enough to realize there’s nothing the church is offering them they can’t get plenty of other, more authentic places.

    Thanks Sam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *