Does Going to Church Help Wellbeing?

Welcome back to my blog. I’m happy that you can visit again. The purpose of Teleios is to use the scientific method to show the validity of God’s word as wisdom and guidance in daily life.

Teleios recently performed a study evaluating church members’ ratings of their church and its leadership associated with their personal assessment of wellbeing. We performed this study to assist Dr. D. Scott Barfoot, faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary, with his leadership studies. Full results here.

The survey was conducted online with 115 volunteers from 6 evangelical churches in Oklahoma, Texas and California. Participants were mostly evangelical (97%) and agreed they had good wellbeing (88%). Similar findings were shown in surrogate markers of wellbeing including: contentment, peace, joy and purpose. However, there was no control group in our study, so it is difficult based on our data to make firm conclusions regarding evangelical wellbeing compared to other population groups.

Nonetheless, other authors have demonstrated that Christian belief generally is associated with good wellbeing more than in those who do not believe (1,2). The better wellbeing among Christians is most often linked to church attendance, postulated to be from socialization (2-6). Additionally, in prior studies a number of other wellbeing markers have been noted including: forgiveness, gratitude, hope and kindness (7-12).

Teleios also has found that Christians who are more adherent to their faith, using what we describe as the five tools of maturity (Acts 2:42-47; praise, prayer, fellowship, spiritual service and biblical learning) have better wellbeing than less adherent believers (1,2). This was shown again in this survey, specifically for biblical fellowship (P=0.013), but also showing strong trends, despite the relatively small sample size of the study, for prayer (P=0.046), praise (P=0.038) and studying the Bible (P=0.071).

Why would the 5 tools to maturity help wellbeing?

We believe it may result from the satisfaction and comfort of the Holy Spirit as we pursue God (Romans 8:16). Further, we know God’s Spirit matures us to think in a biblical manner that helps us exclude negative thoughts and actions (i.e., sin) from our lives (Romans 8:13).

In addition, the Spirit, as we allow (Ephesians 4:29), leads us and acts on our behalf according to God’s Word (Romans 8:14; Romans 6:17). The joy and freedom which come from God, help us to be excellent in all our ways, both in pursuit of God and also in our endeavors for family and professional life (Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:16-17; Romans 8:21).

We truly have a remarkable God who provides wisdom not only for salvation but for our personal lives!

Thank you so much for joining me. Join us again next week as we continue to discuss the results of this interesting study.

  1. MacIlvaine et al. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-82.
  2. MacIlvaine et al. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-5.
  3. Parsons et al. Religious beliefs, practices and treatment adherence among individuals with HIV in the southern United States. AIDS Subject Care STDS 2006;20:97-111.
  4. Reed. Spirituality and well-being in terminally ill hospitalized adults. Res Nurs Health 1987;10:335-44.
  5. Keefe et al. Living with rheumatoid arthritis: the role of daily spirituality and daily religious and spiritual coping. J Pain 2001;2:101-10.
  6. Cotton et al. Exploring the relationships among spiritual well-being, quality of life, and psychological adjustment in women with breast cancer. Psychooncology 1999;8:429-38.
  7. Emmons et al. Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. J Pers Soc Psychol 2003;84:377-89.
  8. Froh et al. Counting blessings in early adolescents: an experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. J Sch Psychol 2008;46:213-33.
  9. Datu. Forgiveness, gratitude and subjective well-being among Filipino adolescents. Int J Adv Counsel 2014;36:262-73.
  10. Krause etal. Forgiveness by God, forgiveness of others, and psychological well-being in late life. J Sci Study Relig 2003;42:77–94.
  11. Otake et al. Happy people become happier through kindness: A counting kindnesses intervention. J Happiness Stud 2006;7:361-75.
  12. Lu. Injured athletes’ rehabilitation beliefs and subjective well-being: The contribution of hope and social support. J Athl Train 2013;48:92–8.