Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Unexpected Benefits of Church

  • Dawn Klinge Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
10 Unexpected Benefits of Church

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, there was never a question of whether I’d be at church each week. It wasn’t negotiable. By the time I was a teen, grasping at independence, I eagerly anticipated the day when it would finally be my decision if I wanted to go church- or not.

When that day finally came, and the choice was mine, I stayed home or worked on Sunday mornings. After a few months, though, I surprised myself. I actually wanted to go to church. So I went back on my own accord, not out of duty, but love, for God and his people.

Twenty-plus years later, married, and with two kids, going to church is still an important part of my life. No, I don’t always feel like going to church, and it hasn’t always been easy, but I know that it is where I belong. I’m a part of something that has made my life better and it has been rewarding.

Here are 10 unexpected benefits of church:

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    1. Church provides social support.

    Slide 1 of 10

    Generally, church people look out for each other, and they’re usually friendly. Church attendees tend to have larger social networks and more affection for each other than their unchurched counterparts, according to a study conducted in North Carolina. 

    Many churches have small community groups that meet on a weekly basis. This gives people the opportunity to talk about their lives with each other as well as learning from the Bible. 

    Entering a church can be like entering a family. The people you’ll meet are in varying stages of faith, but the simple fact that most of them are followers of Christ is enough to create a common bond. 

    “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    2. People who go to church are healthier.

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    A boosted immune system and lower blood pressure are some of the reported benefits of regular church attendance. Studies have shown a reduction in mortality by as much as 25 percent among Judeo-Christians who attend church once a week. 

    The power of prayer for healing is real and people in church often pray for each other.  This, among many other factors, contributes to healthier lives. 

    “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    3. Church provides an opportunity to connect with God.

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    What makes the church special and real is the fact that it is based upon the reality of Christ. The sacraments of communion and baptism remind us that we are united with Christ both physically and spiritually.  

    The physical space of a church is set apart. It allows us to strengthen our connection to God as we open ourselves up to him and listen to his message. 

    “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.” (Psalm 65:4)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    4. Church helps strengthen marriages.

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    Couples who attend church together are less likely to divorce and report higher rates of marital happiness according to a study done by University of Virginia sociologist, W. Bradford Wilcox.  

    Church connects us with shared beliefs. Taking time to attend church together as a couple reinforces the important foundation of your marriage. 

    “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    5. Church helps us to give back.

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    Churches offer ways to give to those in need with both time and money. Gratitude and a heart of compassion are qualities that the Bible teaches. Giving back is a big part of church life and the opportunities to do so are readily available in most churches. 

    Christians give because God gave first. Being generous is easier, and often more effective when you join in with others who are doing the same. 

    “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    6. Church reminds us of our identity.

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    A Christian’s identity is in Christ. Church is the place where our identity is renewed. The people with whom we gather at church are there, not simply out of like-mindedness, but because they are knit together, in Christ.  

    To be in Christ is not a private experience, but rather, one of community. To be united with Christ means to be united with his people. 

    “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    7. People who go to church suffer less depression.

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    A University of Saskatchewan study found that the incidence of depression was 22 percent lower among people who went to church once a month as compared to those who didn’t.  

    Social support systems and a reduction in stress among churchgoers seem to play a role, but there is debate as to what the other protective factors are in this significant reduction. 

    “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    8. Church reminds us of a deeper meaning to life.

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    There’s a history with the Church and when we are a part of it, we’re joining something much bigger than ourselves. We’re reminded of the deeper meaning and purpose behind our individual stories.  

    This life is not about us. We’re part of the bigger story and the storyteller is God. He is real and we are reminded of this truth when we attend church. 

    “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    9. Church promotes accountability and routine.

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    The accountability and routine that church provides is a healthy benefit that extends beyond Sunday and into the week. Managing time and achieving goals are encouraged in the Bible and reinforced by regular church attendance. 

    Kids benefit particularly well from this factor. Children thrive on a reliable routine and church provides a strong sense of security when they know what to expect every Sunday morning. 

    “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

     

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  • 1. Church provides social support.

    10. Church helps us to learn about forgiveness.

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    Learning to forgive is a not easy. When we attend church, we are reminded of the amazing gift that we’ve been given in the message of the gospel. We have been forgiven, because of Christ, so we can forgive those who have wronged us. 

    This message is front and center of the Church and it is a truth that we need to be reminded of consistently.  

    As a member of any community, including a church community, there will be ample opportunity to extend forgiveness. People will hurt you. There will also be times when you need to ask for forgiveness from others. 

    We forgive because God forgave us. Church is a place where you’ll hear about sin and repentance. We may not always like hearing about our own sin, but to truly understand the significance of God’s amazing grace, we first need to understand the depth of our sin. Once we start to grasp what we have been forgiven of already, because of Jesus, it’s not as hard to forgive others. 

    “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

     

    Dawn Klinge is a writer and Christian blogger who loves encouraging people to keep their focus on Jesus. She’s the author of Look to Jesus: How to Let Go of Worry and Trust God. She’s a wife and mom to two teens. A Seattle girl, she loves books, coffee and spinning classes. You can find her at Above the Waves. Facebook. Instagram.  Twitter.  

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