Sunday, October 2, 2011

ASTOUNDING Benefits From Attending Church!

"No other dimension of life in America does more to promote the well-being and soundness of the nation's civil society than citizens' regular attendance at church." - Dr. Pat Fagan

"Strong and repeated evidence indicates that the regular practice of religion has beneficial effects in nearly every aspect of social concern and policy. This evidence shows that religious practice protects against social disorder and dysfunction." - Dr. Pat Fagan

When we opperate our lives according to God's Word then we become more functional & fruitful while becoming less dysfunctional and less spiritually barren. God's Word encourages us in Hebrews 10:25 to "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." In other words, "Go to church!"

Ongoing studies by Dr. Pat Fagan* have revealed the ASTOUNDING benefits that come from regular church attendance. This is no small matter. Below are the lists of ways that regular church attendance both benefits us and protects us as we navigate through this great adventure called life. The entire article can be read on our website here.

(*Dr. Fagan is the director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion and Senior Fellow at the Marriage and Religion Research Institute in Washington, D.C.)

1) Increased marital happiness
2) Increased marital stability
3) Stronger parent-child relationships
4) Greater educational aspirations
5) Greater educational attainment (especially among the poor)
6) Higher performance in college
7) Higher levels of good work habits
8) Increased longevity
9) Increased physical health
10) Increased well-being
11) Increased happiness
12) Higher recovery rates from addictions to alcohol or drugs
13) Increased self-control
14) Increased self-esteem
15) Increased coping skills
16) Increased rates of charitable donations
17) Increased rates of volunteering
18) Higher levels of community cohesion
19) Increased social support for those in need
20) Helps young people escape inner-city poverty
21) Contributes to sound moral judgement
22) Aids in reducing crime
23) Aids in reforming criminals
24) Increased positive attitudes towards school
25) Increased total years of schooling
26) Improved school attendance
27) Improved emphasis on homework

1) Decreased divorce rates
2) Lower cohabitation rates
3) Lower rates of out-of-wedlock births
4) Lower levels of teen sexual activity
5) Less abuse of alcohol and drugs
6) Decreased rates of suicide
7) Decreased rates of depression
8) Decreased rates of suicide ideation
9) Lower levels of many infectious diseases
10) Decreased rates of juvenile crime
11) Decreased rates of violent crime
12) Decreased rates of domestic violence
13) Protects against many social problems
14) Powerfully reduces socially deviant activity
15) Reduced likelihood of becoming a criminal
16) Decreased rates of getting into trouble at school
17) Decreased rates of poor grades
18) Less likely to engage in risky behavior

I could also add many more reasons to go to church such as increased spiritual growth, encouragement that comes through corporate worship, mission trip & ministry outreach opportunities, incredibly fun planned events like camps and road trips, lifelong deep friendships, the potential of meeting your future spouse, free Bible & education classes, free addiction recovery classes, free marriage classes, inspiration, more effective ministry as the entire Body of Christ works together, and on and on.

Obviously the church is made up of imperfect people at different stages of their personal journey with Christ so there is always the potential for the downsides that come with any community. But if we realize that ahead of time and we don't let that discourage us from obeying God by going to church then the blessings that flow will profoundly impact your life and the lives around you. Just make sure you find a church that doesn't compromise the Word of God... then GO... and GO regularly. Just knowing about a good church doesn't enable you to experience the blessings that can only come through GOING TO CHURCH. You may have a few reasons not to go to church, but God just gave you over 45 great reasons to GO.

"Contrary to the popular image of Hollywood parents who encourage their children to be agnostic or atheist, parents who want their children to achieve will get them into church." - Rob Kerby (article writer that interviewed Dr. Pat Fagan and compiled many of his studies together)