Contrary to the common belief that churches are losing their relevance in the community, a recent Canadian survey by Jane Armstrong finds there is a connection between personal spiritual needs and community needs.
The top three ‘significant reasons’ Canadians think people get involved in a church congregation are: to be in touch with God, knowing Jesus and personal comfort. Whereas, in response to the question on what do Canadians think churches should do, we have the three main reasons as: addressing the broader community needs (ie. social justice and poverty), helping participants on their spiritual journey and helping participants in personal spiritual development.
These findings are further reinforced by sociologist Reginald Bibby who in his book, A New Day, states that “although individuals come to church for personal interest and needs, these portals of entry provide the church the opportunity to lead participants to the fullness of faith and consequently ministry to others.” Bibby goes on to explain that first participants have to find that faith and involvement help to elevate and complete life — and as such is worthwhile.”
At St. Stephen’s United Church and many other community Christian churches, we see such spiritual growth and community involvement as part of our mission of following Jesus Christ.