Teen-Parent Relationship, Homeschooling Positively Influence Christian Growth, New Study reports

Feb 12, 2015 04:32 PM EST

A new study has found that Millennials who experience strong relationships with their parents, attend church throughout the childhood, and are homeschooled have an increased likelihood of carrying both their Christianity and church attendance into adulthood.

The Gen2 Survey, titled "Why Are They Leaving," seeks to answer the question of why most Millennials leave the church after high school. Released by the National Home Education Research Institute and Generations with Vision, the survey claims to be the "largest Christian study ever conducted on the Millennial generation."

Between 2013 and 2014, researchers surveyed 9,369 adults, ages 18 to 38 who were churched while growing up. Participants were asked about childhood family relationships, church experiences, cultural influences, and schooling background, and details on their current life - religious beliefs, church practices, social practices, community engagement, and life satisfaction.

Surprisingly, the study found that the number of years that churched children spent in both public and Christian schools negatively impacted Christian development, making a strong argument for homeschooling.

Additionally, those homeschooled were 2.2 times as likely to be a Christian believer as those who were Christian schooled and 2.5 times more likely to be a believer than those who were public schooled.

"Having a strong relationship with the child's mother and father, attending church as a child, and years homeschooled were all clearly positively associated with Millennials' basic Christian orthodoxy, broader biblical beliefs, Christian behaviors (e.g., attending church, keeping sex in marriage, prayer, not using pornography), satisfaction in life, civic and community involvement, and having beliefs similar to one's parents," said researcher Dr. Brian Ray, according to the Christian NewsWire. "However, number of years in Christian school and number of years in public school were negatively associated with most of the adult beliefs and behaviors just mentioned."

The study also found that children who were homeschooled far less likely to support homosexual marriage (16%) than the Christian schooled (29%) the public schooled (33%) and the private secular schooled (46%).

According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, "regular church attendance of Millennials is 18%, less than one third of that in the Greatest Generation (born 1928)." Additionally, a survey conducted by LifeWay Research found that over two-thirds of young adults who attend a Protestant church for at least a year in high school will stop attending church for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.  

"We have to raise a generation of subversive counter-revolutionaries," said Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, "And that's going to require a level of Christian teaching that's only going to take place in something that is ... simply irreducible to the responsibility of Christian mothers and fathers in the context of the home."