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Worship good for the soul, mind and body

admin | 2/15/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Research proves regular church attendance provides health benefits

In the 21st century, for most Americans attending weekly worship services appears to be an optional chore rather than a necessity. According to a 2010 Gallup Poll, 43.1 percent of Americans say that they attend church on a regular basis. Meanwhile, among Blacks, the attendance rate is slightly higher. Fifty-three percent of Blacks report attending religious services at least once a week. But the low numbers for regular worshippers does not surprise, Rev. Joseph Toles, Jr. of Greater Berea Missionary Baptist Church. Many people come to church when they have been wounded or theyve been hurt, Toles explained. And once theyre healed from that pain they think theyve been delivered. But they dont understand that if you dont continue with God you can never get the complete healing physically and spiritually. Research in recent years has shown that there are many positive benefits to regular church attendance, from improving biblical literacy to developing life long friendships. The book, God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Spirituality Healing Connection, found that scientists at John Hopkins University discovered that less than monthly religious attendance doubled and even lowered the risk of death caused by certain kinds of heart disease, suicide and certain types of cancers. While church attendance among all racial groups and ages has declined in recent years, the rate for younger church goers is markedly lower. One Lifeway Research study found that 70 percent of Protestant Christians young adults (18 - 22 years old) stopped attending church for at least a year. This is unfortunate, although understandable in these times, according to Rev. Avery Jones of Holy Spirit Ministries. Well, young people now have a lot of options, so there are more things that can distract them if they allow it to distract them from the importance of church worship, Jones explained. However, for those who do come they often find many benefits at the church in addition to the spiritual lessons they can take away, said Jones. They can find a place of refugee where they get an opportunity to share their God-given gifts and talents, said the minister, whose church supports a thriving music ministry. But while attending church provides many spiritual benefits, it also provides several other non-spiritual benefits. According to the essay, The Non-spiritual Benefits of Attending Church, regular church attendance can become a ritual that bonds families together. Everyone in the family is organized around meeting a common goal, which helps the family work as a connected unit rather than separate parts, the article stated. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com