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The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church

 

The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church | Religion | Spiritual Life | Nurture Your Spiritual Life

I’ll be the first to admit that while I love being at church once I actually get there, I don’t always love the process of getting my whole family out the door every Sunday morning.  There are too many weekends where I’d rather stay cuddled up in bed with a favorite book or binge watching my latest Netflix obsession.

I don’t know what it is exactly that makes getting out the door on Sunday feel so much harder.  Maybe it’s because while our weekday routine is pretty set, our weekend schedule is far more relaxed.  It’s our time to kick back and recuperate, without always having to DO something.  Or maybe it’s that I want to look nice and make sure the girls are looking their best, which sometimes requires a little extra prep time–effort that I don’t always feel like putting in.

I’m guessing we’re not the only family that struggles to get to church sometimes.

For many families, scheduling and making time for church in the middle of a jam-packed week can feel like a test in itself. Whether you go on Saturday evenings, Sunday mornings or even weekday afternoons, it can be hard to part with what we see as “free” time, especially when it conflicts with other things we really want to do.

But over the years, one thing I’ve realized is that when I get to a point where I feel like I just don’t have time for church, it is a pretty clear sign that I’m pushing myself too hard.  And that usually means that I need to reevaluate my schedule and regain some sanity, because at the end of the day, I’ve never once regretted taking the time to attend church.  There’s just something about being there that calms me down, makes me feel connected and whole, and simply allows me to breathe again.

And it’s not just me, apparently.  Research shows that people who regularly attend church report stronger social support networks and less depression. They smoke less and lead healthier and even longer lives.  In a very real and physical way, Church is literally good for your health.

Which means that if you haven’t been in a while, this might be a great time to start going back, or to find a new church home that fits your personality and your family—one where you click with those around you, make great friends, and feel a strong and welcoming sense of community.

And if you’re still not sure you’re ready to give it a try?  Here are a few more surprising benefits of going to church:

The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church | Religion | Spiritual Life | Nurture Your Spiritual Life

Church Connects Us with God

There is something reverent about simply being inside a church.  It gives us a physical space to connect and draw closer to God and to realize that there is something out there bigger than ourselves.

Plus entering a house of worship, we’re instantly elevated to a state where we’re opening ourselves to God and trying to understand his message. The simple act of walking in the door brings you closer. Ultimately, that connection with God is strengthened and reinforced by church attendance. We’re making time for God and physically allowing him into our lives by attending a place of worship.

Church Gives Us a Chance to Reflect on Gratitude

By practicing gratitude, we can reframe negative or frustrating situations into learning opportunities. Gratitude helps us to realize how blessed we are and how much we truly have. Even when things seem dire and awful (say, your husband lost his job, your child is sick, or a loved one passes away), church helps us change our outlook and stop dwelling on empty questions like, “Why is this happening to me?”

Church can help us realize the things we do have, even when we feel lost. For example, we may have access to modern medical care for our sick child, a network of people to support and help our spouse during a job search, or memories and lessons we hold on to from our time with our loved one, as well as the prospect of reuniting with them in heaven. Even if it’s hard to see the blessings at the moment, attending church can help us open our hearts and eyes to see the things we have.

The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church | Religion | Spiritual Life | Nurture Your Spiritual Life

Church Connects Us Socially

A more peripheral benefit of church attendance is the way it connects us socially. This is especially true if you have recently moved to a new town, or even just a new neighborhood.  As a general rule, church people are pretty friendly, and most churches have a variety of social events, groups, clubs, and connection opportunities available each week.  If you’re struggling to meet people or to make friends, this is the place to do it!

Church Helps Us Better Connect with our Spouse

Not everyone is on the same page as his or her spouse when it comes to faith. However, couples who attend church together report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction within their marriage. Why is that? Church reconnects us to our shared beliefs. It reinforces the higher philosophy and purpose behind marriage and family and it allows us a safe space to connect with God and our spouse together.

Couples who attend church together are making time to reiterate the important foundations of their marriage. When you got married, you pledged to love and support each other. When you commune with God at church on Sundays, you’re reminded of your pledge and your connection is reinforced.

The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church | Religion | Spiritual Life | Nurture Your Spiritual Life

Church Allows Us to Feel Reverence

In the chaos of every day, do you ever long for peace, quiet and reverence? When we attend church, we’re transported to a place of worship and peace. I’m always amazed at the peaceful feeling that washes over me the moment I walk into the building. It’s a place of calm and a place of joy.

Attending church can help us revisit this revered state regularly. It gives us a space to pray and to express humility and gratitude. It allows us to feel at peace and gives us respite from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

Church Provides Plenty of Opportunities to Give Back

Most Christian churches offer some type of charity work and assistance for their communities and other areas of need around the world. Through our faith, we’ve been able to visit and help communities around the world, as well as locally in a variety of ways.

Church offers an opportunity to donate our time and money to causes we believe in. We can also help out through organizations who share the same values and want to share God’s Grace and love with those in need. We’re so blessed to live full lives with so much opportunity, safety and freedom. So many people in the world live in poverty and pain, and through our faith, we can help bring them comfort and help.

The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church | Religion | Spiritual Life | Nurture Your Spiritual Life

Church Helps Us “Find the Lesson” in our Trials

A friend of mine was recently struggling because, try as she might, she and her husband couldn’t get to stable financial ground. It made her heartsick to have to work full-time when she was desperately longing to stay home with her young child. She said, “I’m having such a hard time figuring out what I’m supposed to learn from this experience.”

It’s such a normal response, isn’t it?  We all want to know why things don’t always go the way we planned.

But I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been struggling in a particular area and found that the sermon or message applied so directly to my situation that it felt like the pastor was talking directly to me.  Church helps us “get it,” whether we are ready for it or not.

Church Teaches Us Forgiveness

It can be hard to let go of disappointments, frustrations and annoyances. Maybe a friend has let us down, our kids have been out of control lately, or our spouse has said or done something hurtful. Forgiveness is one of the hardest lessons to learn, and yet, when are finally able to let things go, it can take a huge weight off our shoulders.

There’s no better place to be reminded of the gift of forgiveness that we have already received than by going to church, and our hearts can help but be softened in the process.

The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church | Religion | Spiritual Life | Nurture Your Spiritual Life

Church Fills Our Hearts with Song

There’s something a little bit magical about music.  Listening to hymns and religious music can uplift us and give us messages we may not otherwise hear. It’s amazing how open our hearts can become through song, and how sometimes even the weight of the world can be lifted off our shoulders the moment that first song begins playing.

Through music, we feel more spiritually connected because song is a conduit to God. We can feel joy and happiness by listening to music with a great message, then carrying that song in our hearts all week long.

Church is Where We Find Deeper Meaning in our Lives

In my most frustrated and stressed-out moments, I sometimes find myself wondering, “What’s the point?” When we feel despair, sorrow, frustration and stress, it’s easy to lose sight of the greater plan and purpose that’s out there for all of us. We might even feel alone and isolated from God and from other people.

But when we go to church, we’re given a greater sense of purpose and meaning. We can see the history of what has led us up to this point, and the promise that lies in our future even beyond this world. Church helps us revisit the larger narrative of life and the reasons to hold on and keep the faith.

The next time you’re feeling like church might be more stress than it’s worth, remind yourself it’s a sign you NEED church in your life even more! Church can help alleviate our stress, ease our burdens and carry us through the week—something we all need.

The Surprising Benefits of Going to Church | Religion | Spiritual Life | Nurture Your Spiritual Life

21 Comments

  1. December 2 at 08:37AM

    I feel the same way as you – sometimes getting out the door is SO hard, and it can really feel chore. I think this has to do with selfishness surrounding my TIME. I am home all week with my kids and in my head the weekend is supposed to be my “free time.” It’s supposed to be more relaxed, with a looser schedule and less responsibilities to take care of. Unfortunately, this mindset consistently sets me up for disappointment – when my kids require “too much”, my husband isn’t helping out as much as I’d banked on, or I have to do things I don’t necessarily WANT to do with my “free time” (like wrangle four kids into their Sunday best and get to church on time). In all of those cases I am being selfish with my time – believing that I have worked for, earned, and DESERVE this completely fictional weekend of free time. This only leads to disappointment!

    But all of your reasons for getting yourself out the door to church each week are SO GOOD! And like you, we go each week and I am never, ever disappointed that we did. What seems like an infringement on my free time actually turns out to be a perfect reset – something that perfectly meets my needs and rejuvenates me for the week ahead. Thank you for the encouragement in this area… I may be returning to this post come Sunday!

  2. December 2 at 11:37AM

    Very, very well written! I’ve had people give reasons why “I don’t have to go to church to believe in God”. While that may be true, your article is all the reasons why people SHOULD go to church.
    Because of church, the relationship with my husband is soooo much better. In fact, he starts working for our home church on Dec. 12th in the Janitorial/Maintenance department. Four years ago we were on the verge of divorce. Going to church and strengthening our relationship with God saved our marriage.
    I also feel so much more humble and have a lot more gratitude when I go to church. And I have a Small Group that has been amazing to me. They were such a huge support when my mother passed away in April.
    Love this article!

  3. December 2 at 12:54PM

    Agreed! We usually go to the late service, so at least we have a few hours to get around and ready. It can definitely interfere with kids’ nap-schedules (we have little ones), but it is SO, SO worth it to be there every week. Even when you think your kids can’t possibly be getting out of it because they are too little to really understand – they are.

  4. Reynolds
    December 2 at 02:58PM

    Mmmmm. I don’t think you meant to dance around the issue. But you did. You left out two words.

    Church attendance without Jesus Christa’s the reason is of no lasting value. It’s feel-goodism, or it’s do-goodism or maybe it’s what seems like the right thing to do. But without a relationship with Jesus Christ those are all fleeting emotions or feelings. Those actions, alone, can’t save a person from their self-imposed separation from our Creator God and the only Messiah, his son, Jesus the Christ.

    Go to church, certainly. But most importantly, chase after a personal relationship with Jesus. With that relationship in place, which comes after repentance, the Holy Spirit begins a good work in you, and that work lasts a lifetime. Growing, changing, putting away the old self and welcoming the new person — one much changed from the old one, and one Jesus is able to use in the advancement of the Gospel.

    • Isabel
      December 2 at 06:32PM

      Amen!

    • LeAnn
      December 3 at 07:35AM

      I agree. So glad though for the article and the emphasis on making the time for attending church, especially in our busy world. We raised 5 children and we were all involved with the opportunities afforded and were truly blessed by life-long friendships and serving others. But, the most important thing we learned early on in our life, is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

    • Mary
      December 4 at 09:59PM

      Amen again! Reynolds…your comment hit the nail on the head. It reminded me of the following quote “Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” by Morton Kelsey.

  5. Alison
    December 2 at 06:24PM

    I love this articles and the comments! For me, it is a challenge to get myself and my daughter ready while my husband gets himself ready. I struggle with mornings as it is, so Sundays are tough. I’ve been working on compromising my high expectations of being completely put together for this weekly commitment. Now I may have hair that hasn’t been washed for a day or two, but the trade is a little less stress that morning. ☺️ I am grateful for the opportunity to reconnect and recommit to my Savior weekly. All the other benefits are layers of delicious frosting on the best cake ever!!!

  6. December 2 at 09:44PM

    Yes, I so agree! I love our church community, the fellowship and most importantly the teaching our Pastor gives straight from God’s Word. It’s a time of refreshment but most importantly, it’s a time to worship our Creator and draw closer to Him.

    With that said, I also agree on how hard it can be to get everyone up, dressed and out the door but once we are there it is all worth it. I try and treat Sunday mornings just like a regular weekday morning by having the kid’s church clothes laid out, breakfast planned and anything else to help our Sunday morning run smoothly, Saturday night before bed. It helps us to get what we need to get done while also still having a relaxing morning as well!

  7. Mireia
    December 3 at 08:36AM

    Hi, Thank you for this article. I came here looking for DIY decor tips and did somehow end up finding some very good reasons to START going to church. I’ve never gone regularly. Only on special occasions. As someone has commented already, I have always thought going to church was more of a social activity than a spiritual one (not that there would be anything wrong with that). The fact that I have, later in life and after my mother died, experimented a LOT with prayer and found it had a miraculous effect on me (I very deliberately chose that adjective)… only seemed to reinforce my belief that going to church wasn’t really necessary, or even advisable. I am willing to revise that opinion. I am even willing to give it a try, in part for social reasons, I am living in a new community with not one single relative in my vicinity and with only a couple of new and relatively “loose” friendships. It’s not that I’m feeling lonely, I’m kind of a loner actually, but I do feel going to church can give me a greater feeling of belonging in my new community and also, more importantly, help me reconnect with God.

    Because yes, after all that “experimenting” and even “succeeding” (I don’t know how else to put it), my mind did some weird tricks on me, making me feel guilty for being so happy and feeling so blessed when it had all started out as a way of feeling closer to my deceased mother. I started feeling guilty. I started refusing my connection with God. I stopped praying. I know it’s the dumbest thing, I knew it then intellectually but I still couldn’t help it. So here I am, after a few years, trying to get back on the right track. Trying to feel alive again and, more importantly, wanting to be alive.

    And if I may give you all a humble piece of advice from my “good times”: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”. If you are like I used to be, you may have trouble coming to terms with this instruction. It sounds like it could come from a petty tyrant of a God, one enamoured of his own importance and consequence… As I found out through prayer and contemplation… I couldn’t have been more WRONG. “Loving God” is actually the only act of the spirit that allows us to establish a direct, intimate connection with Him. And connecting with God in such a way is not at all in God’s benefit: it is in our benefit, it is like being submerged in the elixir of all the most glorious superpowers the most fantastic mind can imagine. Loving God and connecting with Him intimately is the most amazing experience one can have in life. In the end, as is only natural, given God is Love and is always thinking of our benefit… Loving God above all else is an instruction that is only meant for our utmost benefit. Please try it, you won’t believe what happens.

    • May 5 at 10:44PM

      Your entire last paragraph was one of the most moving things I’ve ever read. The way you described what happens during your prayer time would touch the heart of many hard-headed people. It was just so…on point, and authentic. I love how you nailed what a lot of non-believers think: if God is real, he’s a tyrant. You really touched every point of the stages of a believer’s life in one thought-unbelief to spiritual ecstasy. Truly an inspired sentiment. May I share it? The entire world needs to read that.

  8. December 3 at 01:55PM

    Getting to church is a constant challenge for my family. It’s an even bigger challenge to get there on time. There was a time when we didn’t go to church if we couldn’t get out the door on time. It took me a while to embrace the fact that God didn’t care if we were late. Neither did the church community (at least most of them didn’t!). The stress of getting to church cannot compare to the feeling of peace I immediately feel once I enter the sanctuary (no matter what time I arrive). Once there, I’m ready to fully take in the Church experience – the sermon, the communal prayer, the ability to connect with God, and the fellowship. Thank you for your words.

  9. December 6 at 08:02AM

    Church has been a way for my boyfriend and I to get closer during our courtship. In anticipation of marriage, it’s a way to make sure our values are aligned. I recommend it to all couples who believe in God. I hope my readers follow your advice — I’m going to share this with them!

  10. December 7 at 11:17AM

    Such a good article! I recently found your blog and bought your book How To Blog For Profit, and I love it. It has inspired me so much, I just started my own blog on faith, natural beauty and lifestyle. I’m hoping to help people grow closer to God and speak out about the things a lot of churches don’t really like to talk much about these days but need to be addressed. Thank you for inspiring me to get out there and go after blogging, I’ve really enjoyed it so far. <3

    – Natalia (www.blessedbeautie.com)

  11. December 21 at 03:43PM

    Thanks for the great read. You mentioned that attending church is a great way to connect socially, especially if you just moved to anew town, as it’s a great way to get to know your neighbors. My sister just moved to a new home in a new city. I’ll make sure to look online to see what churches are around, to help her and her family become familiar with their new neighbors.

  12. February 6 at 09:01PM

    I really like the idea of going to church. I don’t think it matters which church you go to, as long as it teaches you to be good. Like you said, it allows us to feel peace and reverence. I need that, in such a hectic world.

  13. April 25 at 03:44PM

    I never would have guessed that attending church could be so beneficial. It was interesting to learn that attending church can help to reiterate the important foundations of one’s marriage. I hope this article can help us to know where to go if we ever need to improve our style of life.

  14. May 1 at 06:31PM

    I remember learning that spirituality was a part of human health back in middle school. I can see how it’s important to have a way to deal with the stresses and pains of life. Church is one way you can do that and put things in perspective.

  15. June 16 at 02:31PM

    Thanks for the terrific article. You wrote that church is a great place to learn forgiveness, which is essential in your relationships with friends and family. I’d heard that many found peace and help by going to church and I was curious about that. Being able to master qualities like this could actually help you long term in life, and ensure you have peace in your family and within your social circles.

  16. July 12 at 03:36PM

    One of our biggest reasons for not attending church regularly when we were first married, was that my husband and I could never agree on a church. I liked simple worship, led by just a few people, and challenging sermons that integrated the Bible with other writings, like the works of CS Lewis. My husband loved big worship productions (he’s a drummer – go figure) and down-to-earth sermons that use things like football games and BBQ to illustrate their point.

    But in the end, we both realized we had to be open to GOD above all else. Even if a church we attended wasn’t exactly what we would have created ourselves, there’s still immense value to be gained from attending, from worshipping, from hearing the message, all of the benefits you mentioned included. If we go in with a bad attitude and closed mind, we might not gain a thing. But if we go in with an open mind, willing to learn no matter what style the message is delivered, we’ll always gain something of real value.

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