3,470 Hours Per Year

3,470 hours.  If you’re a parent, that’s about how many hours per year that your children are awake and not in school or church.

Church-going kids spend anywhere from an hour to five hours a week in church or doing church-related activities.  Another 50-100 hours is spent sleeping, depending on the age of the child.

Let’s say an elementary-aged child sleeps 75 hours a week and goes to church 2.5 hours a week.  Let’s also say they attend school from 8am-3pm during the school year, which is 180 days per year.

Here’s how that scenario breaks down over the course of a year:

Time spent sleeping: 3,900 hours

Time at home, with friends, or community/other activities: 3,470 hours

Time spent in school: 1,260 hours

Time spent in church: 130 hours

In other words, church-going kids spend 2.7% of their waking time in church.

(By the way, according to a 2010 study, 8-18 year-olds average nearly 8 hours a day of media and screen time.)

I am putting these numbers in line not to make Christian parents feel bad that their kids only spend 130 hours a year in church compared to many more hours elsewhere.  In fact, I want to press a contrary point.  I don’t think your child needs to spend more time at church in order to be more spiritual (yes, I said that).  These numbers are simply a reality of the lives of American children.  Instead of increasing the church time or expecting church workers to spiritually raise our kids, lets make better use of the 3,470 hrs/year we as parents have with our children.

This means it is the job of the church to equip parents with the tools to be the faith-mentors of their own children, since parents literally have thousands of more hours per year with their children than the church does.

What do you or your church do in order to help promote “the priesthood of believers” among parents?  There are some great books on this topic and some great church programs who have pursued this goal, such as North Point Community Church in Georgia and the Orange Conference.


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Jesse Joyner travels nationwide performing a comedy juggling act for family and kids events. He is also working towards his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Kezzie.

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