Krish Kandiah writes for Christianity Today, “It’s time to reclaim the church as something we belong to rather than just an event venue.” He argues our churches have become places you go to instead of a community to belong to. We have made our churches another consumer product that is marketing to the public.
He says, “…the American church is fundamentally shaped by free-market capitalism…Church leaders frequently act as salesmen, and evangelism strategies often resemble marketing campaigns. Churches end up competing with one another for attendees just like business compete for customers”
The competitiveness between the churches has been one of the major barriers to church unity. It has stalled many attempts to bring churches together to reach out to the community as one.
The solution Kandiah gives is changing our mentality when it comes to the Church. We need to see the Church more like a family. The Scriptures are filled with familial language calling people in the Church brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers. The Church is something that we belong to, something to BE. It is not a place we go to. The Church is family.
Sure, families are messy. We don’t always get along. And we certainly don’t choose our family members. But, we show grace, mercy, and love especially to our family. Let us learn to do the same for our Church family.
Galatians 6:10 (NIV): Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
 Kandiah, Krish. Church as Family. Christianity Today, January, February 2019. Print. 67
Ohio State University has conducted a study of obituaries nationwide. The obituaries gives us a unique insight into a persons life and their lifespan.
Obituaries usually have the age of the person, the size and extent of their families, what they were known for, hobbies, and religious affiliations.
What they found was interesting. They found that religious affiliation gives a person an extra four-year boost in life. On average, a person who is involved religiously lived 4 years longer than someone who did not.
“The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives,” ~ Baldwin Way, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.
Let’s not be too hasty to wave the, “See, Christianity is right!” flag. There were other religions in this study that had the same life extension.
Except for snake-handling churches for some reason.
What we can learn from this study is the necessity to continue to work in unity and in a community. Coupled with religious norms that promote a healthier lifestyle (avoidance of drunkenness, drugs, and promiscuous sex) and stress-reliving practices (prayer, meditation, fasting) there is a communal aspect that is also a factor.
“Many studies have shown that people who volunteer and participate in social groups tend to live longer than others.”
Though, those who ONLY volunteer and participate in social groups did not live as long as those who were religious. Nonetheless, it is an aspect of religion we should not neglect.
When we come together as a Church we are doing more than doing our duty. We are actually helping each other live longer. By encouraging one another, building each other up, comforting those who are hurting, helping those in need. This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us not to forsake coming together. It’s not to keep the pews full. It is so that we all can benefit from each other.