KidMin Alert: Evangelical Christians are divorcing at a higher rate than non-Christians



Today’s guest blogger on the Kids & Divorce blog is Dale Hudson of Relevant Children’s Ministry, This information is important and it will profoundly affect your children’s ministry because it alerts all of us that work with children that no family is immune to divorce even Christians in the church. Thank you Dale for sharing this vitally important information with us.

A recent report from Baylor University says evangelical Christians now have a higher divorce rate than non-believers.

The report covered 50 years of religious change, from 1964 to 2014.

Other findings included…

  • The proportion of Americans who do not identify with any religious tradition has grown dramatically—from 3 percent in the 1960s to 20 percent today—even though 90 percent of Americans professed a belief in God or a higher power.
  • Protestants have declined in their share of the American adult population, from 70 percent in the 1950s to a little less than 50 percent today.
  • The protracted decline in Protestant shares of the American population is largely due to the decline of Mainline Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, whose numbers have halved over the same time period.
  • Evangelicals rapidly increased their share of the population until the early 1990s, but that segment has experienced some decline since then.
  • The proportion of people who affiliate with non-Judeo-Christian religions has doubled since the 1950s.

It’s a sad day when the divorce rate inside the church is higher than outside the church.  With all of our marriage seminars, conferences, books, and teachings – so many married couples still struggle.

What’s the answer?

I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Share with us in the comment section below. 

14 thoughts on “KidMin Alert: Evangelical Christians are divorcing at a higher rate than non-Christians

  1. I can’t help but wonder if the divorce rate is higher among Christians simply because the marriage rate is higher among Christians. While the numbers of those outside of the Christian community who choose to cohabit rather than marry continues to climb, I woukd think there would be some correlation.

  2. I agree with Lesa.
    I would also like to comment on a disturbing “trend” that my new husband and I saw during our pre marital class within our church, last spring, prior to our marriage last October.
    We are in our mid 50s, both been married before, and with me being a single parent and co leader of our church DivorceCare program, we saw it was critical to not rush the dating phase. We get that concept! However many do not, including our own clergy…

    Here’s the alarming news- most young people in their 20’s and 30’s have been grabbing a single person as soon as they can and marrying within that same year or even scarier, within months! Sure, many but not all, are dating faithfully as Christians without sexual issues, however we feel that is perhaps motivating them to get married sooner than later. We have seen a number of these lead to separations and divorce filings. We have been attending my church since 2009.
    In one situation it was especially tragic as the woman found out about her new husband’s secret sex life with prostitutes through credit card bills and then some Boston detectives who had been watching him in a sting operation asany women were victims of under aged sex trafficking understand that break up but others are simply finding all the stress of co-habitating too much to handle. And in many cases these couples are just too young to have the needed coping skills.

    I do feel part of this issue lies in our church not feeling this is an issue. We were met with blank stares when we brought this up! In fact in our class there are young couples who were not even engaged yet! It felt like they were playing a game of house when we were doing exercises such as evaluating household chores each wanted to take on in the marriage; good to know and agree on who mows the lawn and who will generally enjoy or take on grocery shopping, and we discussed differences as well, based on our answers.

    In summary, I believe much of this is caused by Chistians marrying too soon, rushing the dating and learning phase, though it is often done for the right reason, to keep sexual purity in tact until married.

    • Judith, I agree with what you are saying. Over the years I too have seen those blank stares. I keep saying, “they just don’t know what they don’t know.” And I say that to encourage all of us in ministry to teach and educate the clergy and other church workers about these issues especially when it comes to single parents remarrying.

      Thanks for your contribution and thought provoking comment.

  3. The explosion of social media has given rise to the ability to connect with friends and family from across the globe. However, it has undeniably open the door to what I call social media adultery. I have read many accounts of simple friend requests turning from late night messaging to exchanging phone numbers to meeting up for coffee to much much more. Social media doesn’t force people into temptation. But it sure seems to be a gateway into problems. Even those regular church members who you see every Sunday raising their hands in worship and paying their tithe is a potential victim to the forbidden apple of social media.

    • Thanks Brad for your perspective. I believe you make a good point especially with your comment – “gateway into problems”.

      Again thanks for responding. 🙂

  4. The church has to come to the reality that the people that sit in their pews are human. They needed to fully equipped with the tools to have a great marriage. Having a conference is not training. Marriage class need to be mandatory for anyone who decide they want to get married no matter the age snd not just one day. The classes need to be based on the word of God and the reality of marriage. It is work, it has process and phases that it goes through and when you quit it is because you choose to unless their is abuse or infidelity. The world has told us it is okay to be selfish and that is what the church has allowed to be okay!

  5. As a pastor we also have to make sure we work with the couples and prepare them for marriage. It is important. Too many rubber stamping of couples not ready to get married is happening. Thanks for what you do Linda Jacobs. Hope you remember me…

    • Spot on Shane. Couldn’t agree more. Pastors need to take into consideration if the two adults experienced their own parent’s divorce, ministers will need to counsel wisely.

      I am honored for your encouragement.

  6. Linda, others have noted that Evangelicals tend to marry younger and sooner after meeting than others. These are not helpful towards stable marriages. Marrying younger reduces overall family earning potential, especially for women. Marrying after short periods of dating or engagement also leads to a greater likelyhood of unpleasant surprises in marriage. Another factor I have obseved is the over-spiritualization of romance and marriage. Some people believe God has led them into a marriage when there are red flags waving a warning to those who have their eyes open. Infatuation has a way to blind us and overlaying it with spirituality does not help.

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