Posts Tagged ‘congregations’

Faith and health: When TV goes low in depicting religion, marginal believers may suffer most

What is the impact of the public trashing of religion on the lives of the great majority of Americans who profess a belief in God? New research exploring the relation between mental health and negative media portrayals of religion reveals some surprising findings.

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Lessons from Amazon: Being open to change can spur congregational vitality, growth

The majority of congregations are at a crossroad today: They must adapt to a culture where churchgoing is increasingly more of a choice than an obligation, or face a future of sustained decline. Yet many congregations have been reluctant to embrace any major changes in outreach to attract new members or retain younger generations. Instead, they appear to be cutting back, research indicates.

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Mere humanity: Clergy who are humble, accessible may boost their own health as well as the congregation's

Many clergy worry that being honest about their own limitations may be seen as a sign of weakness. Yet new research suggests that not only do congregation members value pastors who are approachable, and share their humanity, but that feeling compelled to live up to unrealistic standards of spiritual perfection can take a debilitating toll on the mental health of pastors.

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A Christmas story: How humility can help de-stress new parents, build tolerance

New research on humility is revealing how “the quiet virtue” may help build peace in both the lives of individuals and in diverse cultures. Among the more immediate beneficiaries: Couples having their first child.

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Is your congregation a clergy killer? How churchgoers matter to mental health of pastors

Clergy who serve flocks that support them in their times of need and let their pastors know how much they mean to them are much more likely to be satisfied in their ministry and have a higher quality of life, according to a new study. However, the more clergy feel isolated in their work and forced to meet unreasonable demands, the more likely they are to suffer anxiety, depression and emotional exhaustion, research indicated.

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Walking through the darkest valleys: How religion can be a healing balm for veterans

Religion can be a critical source of spiritual and social support for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, new research indicates. What also matters is that it be the right type of spiritual support. Veterans who are able to find a resource in faith in a loving God who cares for them appear to be better able to work through the stresses of combat. Those who continue to struggle with images of a judgmental God who is responsible for senseless suffering may be more likely to take their own lives.

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Older worshippers find it’s never too late to switch

Religious switching is not limited to the young. Nearly three in 10 older adults made a major change in spiritual homes within just an 11-year period, according to a study. The findings and related research indicate both why it is important for older adults to be in a supportive congregation and why leaving a long-established spiritual community late in life could jeopardize the individual’s well-being.

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It is most blessed to give and to receive, studies suggest

In a culture that prizes rugged individualism, many Americans find it is more acceptable to give than to receive. Yet the blessings appear to multiply when one is able to do both, according to new research. People who both meet the needs of others and are cared for in a nurturing community are much more likely to love and trust their neighbors, studies indicate.

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Homosexuality and the pews: Seven signs influencing congregational acceptance of gays and lesbians

Much of the conflict over issues of sexuality takes place at the national level. But individual congregations, not denominations, ultimately decide how gay and lesbian worshippers will be accepted in religious communities. New studies are providing insights into which congregations are more likely to be welcoming to gays and lesbians, and what this means for the future.

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Religion and economic growth: Drive to succeed in business crosses faith traditions

The idea of a Protestant or Puritan work ethic, that individuals work harder, save more and seek economic success as signs of a diligent faith, has worked its way into national lore. But in looking at the religious engines of economic growth, new research indicates it may be just as helpful to talk about an Islamic ethic or a Jewish ethic or a Buddhist ethic.

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