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Bring the Outside In, Make the Inside Warmer

posted Jan 17, 2011, 4:05 PM by Jamie Washam

               Here’s another reason to invite your friends to church: a recent study by Chaeyoon Lim of UW-Madison and Robert D. Putnam of Harvard[1] showed that more than theology, it is close friendships with others in the church that are key to happiness amongst religious people. 

“One-third of Americans who attend religious services weekly and have three to five close friends in the congregation said they are ‘extremely satisfied’ with their lives. In comparison, only one in five Americans who attend services weekly but have no close friends in the congregation say they are extremely satisfied.”[2]It is not just sitting in the pew that makes one happy, it is who one shares the pew with, so to speak.

There are two ways to make sure you have close friends at church: either you cultivate friendships with the folks already here, or you invite your established friends to join us.  Why not make this the month to do both? Make an effort this week to speak to that person in church who you have been intrigued by, and meant to get to know better. Find a time when you could connect outside of church. Invite a friend from another circle of your life to come with you to Underwood.  Bring the outside in, and make the inside warmer.  Improve your level of satisfaction while expanding the horizons of who and what church means to you.

[1] American Sociological Review, December 2010

[2] From the Religious News Service, quoted in Christian Century