It is undoubted that churches have played instrumental roles in the growth of many modern democratic societies. This is because religion has acted as the cornerstone of self-control and community spirit that are a prerequisite for people to succeed in determining their own collective destiny. Churches have also been viewed as focal points of moral training which is critical for maintenance of a culture of law and order.
According to various researches by social scientists, the church confers, directly or indirectly, various benefits to the surrounding(local) community.
The church provides community with tangible economic benefits
Having churches in a community area offers tangible economic contribution .This is because the churches and their related organizations provide direct employment to locals which also boosts various local businesses.Churches, in their quest of providing spiritual nourishment, may also pull in visitors from other areas who may further enhance the local economy. This may for example be visiting ministers, preachers and guest speakers among others.Furthermore,when people are considering relocating or buying property in an area, the presence of churches is also a crucial factor in making the final decision- in addition to other factors like good schools and infrastructure.As a result, local business and local government authorities (through property taxes) get a welcome economic boost. Therefore churches,directly or indirectly, promote job creation, community growth and general economic wellbeing in a local community.
Churches provide invaluable social benefits
Research has also highlighted invaluable social benefits provided by churches to local communities. These include helping the poor and vulnerable, edifying marriages through counseling, promoting volunteerism and charity works, reducing home-based violence and enhancing moral obligations in the community. Churches participate in beneficial activities that are critical yet of low personal benefits such as volunteer projects. Being a church member helps you develop feelings of community service and a duty to serve others. Churches assist the local community complete critical projects which otherwise would have been funded by governments at taxpayers’ expense. Church activities like helping the poor help boost social safety nets for the underprivileged. In addition, religious people are more inclined to participate in moral projects like blood donations.
Churches encourage education and help nurture vital soft skills
Churches have, for a long time, strived to greatly enhance education efforts through providing diverse training programs and civic engagement skills. Researches by educationists have proved a direct, positive correlation ship between religion and high reading and math scores.
It has been proved that regular church attendance causes students to develop time allocation and goal achieving ability. Religious-minded students also have been found to have a low propensity for truancy. Religious parents are more likely to raise children who consistently finish their homework, attend class better and ensure completion of degree programs. Churches offer moral, psychological and educational resources and training which culminate in better educational results for learners.
Studies also show that attending church helps people cultivate civic and soft skills such as networking, organizing, public speaking and political participation. Such training helps to lay the foundation for later success in such fields as education, industry, politics and business.
Churches assist in reducing crime and antisocial behavior
Another positive aspect of having churches in local communities is that they help reduce cases of antisocial behavior and general crime levels especially among young people. This, in turn, leads to productive, safe, economically stable and progressive communities which are attractive to new residents. Studies have also shown that religious participation greatly lowers incidences of domestic violence in homes.
Church attendance has also been linked with reduced burglary, assault and violent crime. Increased religious activity also reduces antisocial behavior such as drug abuse, drunkenness and violence among the youth.
Churches are a boon to mental and physical health
Having churches in local communities has beneficial health effects, which enhances their general well-being and saves taxpayers money. Some social scientists have found a link between being religious and longevity. The difference in longevity between religious and nonreligious individuals was found to be as high as 14 years in some sections of the society.
Being nonreligious has also been found to greatly increase the risk dying from suicide, heart diseases, emphysema and liver cirrhosis among others. Religious attendance results in reduced drug and alcohol abuse.
Attending church is also beneficial to mental health. It has been shown to give people hope, increase confidence and self-esteem, offer a purpose for living and lower depression and suicide cases.
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