~~Ask Not What Your Church Can Do for You…~~
“Then the church…enjoyed a time of peace. God strengthened the church;
as its life was marked by reverence…it continued to grow in numbers.”
~Acts 9:31 (CEB)
Dear Members and Friends,
There’s a lot of talk these days about a decline in religious involvement in our country. Sociologists and politicians are concerned. Yes, religion is often misused to cause harm. But for the most part, studies show that people who are actively involved in a religious organization tend to be more generous, happier, healthier, and longer-lived. What are the benefits to being involved with a church? I put together a list!
Community: Topping off everyone’s list, churches provide a sense of community that is sorely lacking in our lonely, insular society today, and it puts you in relationship with people unlike yourself.
Live Music and Singing: Whether you like our music or not, church is one of the only places where you can catch live music for free. Aside from your shower and your car, it might be the only place where you still get an opportunity to sing.
Stories: Humans use stories to make sense of their lives. Familiar, shared stories help individuals and cultures to understand themselves. Scripture and sermons provide these.
Traditions: The Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the Doxology, Christmas pageants: things like these connect us to spiritual seekers from ages past and ages yet to come.
Intergenerational Relationships: Even at the height of their surly adolescent years, my daughters would genuinely beam when they saw Phyllis Madden! She makes an effort to know them and speak to them about their lives. Where else can kids build relationships with people older than their grandparents?
Wisdom: Church draws inspiration from ancient sources. It might be the only place in your life where people raise questions of meaning, human worth, hope and redemption.
Rituals and Symbols: Symbols, sacred language, and symbolic acts all help us to get a handle on the mysteries of life. Like poetry, they can be moving and cathartic, too.
Rites of Passage: Baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals…
Spirituality: Church is rooted in a vision of life that has nothing to do with what you own, or what you look like, or what you’ve accomplished. It offers an alternate way of life.
Social Impact: We’re trying to make the world a better place.
Did I miss anything? What would you add to the list?