It all starts with a simple invitation to attend a church service. It begins with beautiful and solemn praise songs which give inspiration and relaxation to the attendee. He then appreciates the warm welcome of other members then finds companionship. Week after week, he gains more knowledge about God and about life. Regardless of religion, frequent church attendees have benefits over non-attendees. Because the church is an organization of people of the same belief and somehow life perspectives, church members reap the benefit of being a part of the family of God. Church attendance has basically three effects to one's personality: health benefits, personal and social development, and spiritual development.
In a scientific investigation at rural Maryland in 91,000 people, results revealed 1that 50% of the weekly churchgoers had fewer deaths and 53% of them were found to have fewer suicides. Countless studies and surveys have proven that religious affiliations have beneficial effects to human health. Such effects can be explained as a matter of chain reaction of someone who has learned the basics of faith and prayer. Religion teaches people the basics of a healthy relationship with God and with other people. To establish a healthy relationship with God, prayer, as a means of communication with God, is essential. When someone prays, he is able to present his sentiments, pains, worries and needs to God, eventually releasing emotional stress and anxiety. This in turn produces relaxation of the mind and body.
Because churchgoers share the same spiritual belief, they develop within the community a certain bond which reduces the chance of being depressed. Major religions also advocate healthy lifestyle, which the churchgoers and required or at least encouraged to adapt. Most churches prohibits or at least discourages smoking, drinking alcohol and other vices. There are even religions which discourage the consumption of carbonated and caffeinated drinks and foods prepared with artificial flavors. This is primarily because of the belief that the human body as the temple of God and must be maintained clean and sacred. Members of such religions therefore develop a healthy lifestyle as they frequently attend church services and worships. Churchgoers have higher chances of learning how to cope with stress, depression and negative thoughts therefore lowering the risks of heart diseases, high blood pressure and psychological disorders.
2 “Being a part of a loving, caring community is an important ingredient in quality of life and good health maintenance. " (D. Cox) Like other organizations, the churches encourages members to inteeact with other members and develop a certain level of relationship as brother and sisters, being in one accord with the community of God. Churchgoers meet other people and make friends. As they frequently go to church, members of a religious organization learn to socialize with people of the same beliefs and thus acquire some sort of social support. Every time they gather, a sense of belongingness is developed from within that leads to the growth of trust and confidence in every member. Because the church basically teaches love of God and neighbor, members of the church community practice this love through sharing and helping each other in many ways. They learn the value of inspiring and encouraging each others. This in essence is the value of
3 “bearing one another's burden". By these, churchgoers experience a greater well-being. Frequent church attendees are more optimistic because they are able to look at the brighter side of things and have stronger hopes of a better tomorrow. Because churchgoers have peaceful environment, he has more chances of developing a stronger inner being, a broader understanding of the meaning of life. Being members of a church community, churchgoers find their social worth which help them achieve personal growth and development.
4 “Religious learning is the discovery of the ultimate resources to meet infinite longings of the finite spirit. " (Johnson) Man is a finite being who come across with realities of infinite nature. Problems, pains, suffering of both mind and body somehow drive someone to ask a lot of things about God and pose doubts in one's heart. These things sometimes weaken someone's faith. Because man has limited mind which cannot answer many questions, he turns to someone who can, and it is only God. Faith starts in hearing the Word of God and it begins in attending church services and worships. As one continues to go to church, he develops the habit of prayer and therefore establishes a healthy relationship with God. As someone frequently go to church, he hears and learns more about God, learns the best way to handle things especially the not so easy ones. As someone frequently go to church, someone learns to turn to God not only when he has needs but also when he has something to be thankful of. Frequent churchgoers learn how to live a life worthy of God. As he continues, he grows in faith and therefore achieves spiritual development.
The church is God's instrument in establishing a relationship with man. So when someone goes to church and hears the Word of God, he learns how to start praying. He learns how to live a life according to God's will. A churchgoer somehow adapt a healthy lifestyle, worries less, and has lesser risks of depression which somehow reduces the chance of acquiring illnesses relative to emotional stress. A churchgoer achieves personal and social development as he communes with other members of the church. In the church, he has all the chances of sharing and learning valuable ideas about life and God. Frequent church attendee experiences the benefit of having a God-fearing companion giving him the sense of security and tranquility. As someone continue to attend church services and worships, he strengthens his personal relationship with God and step by step achieves spiritual development as he goes on.
1. Anon. The Proof that Prayer Works. Retrieved on October 30, 2006 from 1stholistic.com/Prayer/hol_prayer_proof.htm
2. Cox, Dale. Prayer and Healing: Does Prayer Positively Affect Healing? A Senior Seminar Paper. IS-781
3. Dossey, Larry. An Interview with Lisa Schneider. What Religion Can Do For Your Health? Retrieved on October 25, 2006 from beliefnet.com/story/190/story_P1034_1.html
4. Majid, Abdul. Healing Power of Prayer. Retrieved on October 31, 2006 from crescentlife.com/psychstuff/healing_power_of_faith_and_prayer.htm