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Finding Faith: Why go to church?

By Rev. LAURA KING

Well, I’m the pastor so I can think of lots of reasons to go to church, but this past week I heard a story on NPR from the social science desk that talked about a new study that shows that teens especially benefit from attending church regularly and are less depressed than other teens.

The study also found that the effect is even greater if someone is severely depressed. Of course, they want to do lots more studies to see what it is about going to church and belonging to a religious community that helps people, especially young people, to be less depressed.

I am no social scientist. But here are a few thoughts. Belonging to a community of faith gives us opportunities to be in ministry to others. Helping others makes us feel better. When there is a need and we help to meet it, we are given a sense of purpose and a sense that we can make the world a better place.

Going to church regularly gives us a sense of belonging. We fit in. We are welcomed here. Especially for teens, finding a place where they belong is critical for their mental health and well-being.

As a Christian, going to church regularly gives me the Good News that even though I am a sinner, Christ died for me, forgives me, and saves even me. That is indeed good news. That is joy. That is life.

I was not surprised by the findings in the study. It is something we all should know; God loves us and calls us to come together to worship and praise God.

Go to church. You will feel better.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Laura King of McElhattan United Methodist Church, McElhattan.

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