A look into a file turned up an article from the Denver Rocky Mountain News dated May 19, 1999, “If Longevity is Your Goal, Go to Church!”
Statistics were shared in the article that had been compiled from the May issue of Demography magazine. Here’s a sampling:
- 20-year-olds who go to church once a week live another 62 years; average age, 82.
- 20-year-olds who never attend religious services will die at an average age of 75.
- Among blacks, those who attend services more than once a week live on an average 14 year longer than those who never go to church.
- Those who attend church regularly are apt to smoke and drink less than those who never go, no matter the incomes, lifestyles, and behavior.
Bernard Spilka, a retired professor of psychology at the University of Denver, was surprised. He tried to rationalize the facts by saying, “Negative emotions can affect one’s immune system…(so) Churchgoers may have strong immune systems.” He did conclude that churchgoers must find, “…meaning in their lives, a better sense of control, can relate to other people—which all have potential health benefits.”
Christians go to church because it’s part of God’s will for us that we gather together to hear the Word, to partake of the Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion), to praise and to pray together (Hebrews 10:25). Christians go to Church because what they get out of it is not a stronger physical immune systems or extensions of the dates that will appear on our headstones, but to receive eternal life by grace, through the Gospel of Jesus’ holy life credited to us, horrible death which paid off our punishment debt, and happy resurrection. Jesus has “…the Words of eternal life!”
David Russow is pastor of Redeeming Grace Lutheran Church, Rogers, Minnesota.