The Big Question 81: Are There Good Reasons To Go To Church?
Sep 1, 2021 512
Are there good reasons to go to church?
For most people this isn’t a big question at all. They can’t see any reason why they should go to church at all.
Some may have gone to church as kids, and grown out of it, or left because of they didn’t like what they saw in church. A lot of other people have never been church-goers, because their parents weren’t either.
So, it’s quite a challenging think to make a case for going to church in a culture where the majority of people don’t think it’s important at all.
I do think that it’s important to go to church regularly. In fact, plenty of studies have shown an increased life-expectancy and reduced mortality risk for those who regularly attend worship services.
That might sound a bit strange to people who don’t think there’s any point to going to church, but let’s look at this. And let’s look at perhaps the least important reasons first.
Church gives us regular social connection. In a society in which we are more and more disconnected with each other in reality, and more connected to our mobile devices, this is a huge bonus. It’s vitally important for our health and emotional well-being.
Church gives us regular opportunities to reflect on gratitude. Grateful people are happier people. Full stop. Lots of research has demonstrated this. And church is a place that is uniquely structured to allow people to reflect on, experience, and act on gratitude.
Related to this idea is the fact that church gives people lots of opportunities to give back to others in many ways. Church provides a social group of diverse people who learn from each other what it means to grow together. It teaches us what it means to forgive. And church helps us to get through the tough times in life, and to support others as they go through theirs.
These benefits are so clear that there are even atheist “churches” that have been set up in various countries so that people can have these benefits, but of course, in a non-spiritual context. They run somewhat similar to normal churches, but without God.
But of course, none of these are the best and real reasons why you should go to church. The real reason is that church provides experiences that connect us with God. In so doing, church is a catalyst for finding the deepest and truest meaning for our lives.
Of course, there is no perfect church, just as there are no perfect people. But there’d be no point to church if we were all perfect. That’s why church is where we grow together in Christ.
Now, I know that church has failed to look after people in the past, and I know that it has often given Christianity a bad name. And I don’t know where you are on your journey. But I do know that Christian community is really important. It’s worth taking another look.