Members' perception of the church's role as an agency of help for family life

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Virginia Tech


Questionnaire responses of 244 active church members regarding the church's role in providing programs and services for family life needs and issues were analyzed. The sample were members of Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, 16 years old and older who attended at least one church service per month. The major predictors of a church member's general attitude concerning the church providing programs/services for family life are age and feelings of general needs of families in America. The younger members tend to be more interested in a wider variety of church sponsored programs/services while older members are less supportive of a broad spectrum of family life programs. The greater the church member's feeling of needs of families in general the more positive their expressed attitude about the church offering programs/services.

There is also a systematic relationship between gender of the church member and their attitude toward the church providing family programs/services. Females tend to hold the stronger feelings, both positive and negative, while males tend to express the more moderate attitudes. A relatively strong positive correlation was found between the church member's awareness of the availability of a specific program or service and their perception of the appropriateness of the church offering the program or service.

Counseling is perceived as a priority for the church to offer, with the exceptions of pregnancy counseling and financial counseling. Programs and services dealing with aging issues and for the elderly tend to be ranked low in priority for the church to offer, as well as programs and services in connection with community services. Systematic relationships between specific programs/services and various demographic measures or church involvement measures are also discussed.