It’s no secret that I’m passionate about the importance of the relationships we form with our First Church family, but did you know that regular church attendance, and the connections you form with people as a result, may actually increase your life span?
A year ago, Fort Worth became one of 20 cities — and the only Southern city — to participate in the Blue Zones Project. The Blue Zones concept grew from the research of Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain who set out to identify why certain populations lived longer and healthier lives. The data they uncovered revealed that communities with the highest concentration of centenarians had nine key things in common — and one of those key things is that all but five of the 263 centenarians interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Regardless of denomination, their research shows that attending faith-based services once a week will add 4 – 14 years to your life!
Researchers at Brigham Young University analyzed 148 studies that included 308,849 people over the course of 7.5 years and examined the effect of social relationships and longevity. They concluded that people who had strong connections to others increased their odds of survival over a certain time period by 50 percent. Study author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, explains, “Our social relationships are important not only to our quality of life, but also our longevity. Throughout human history, we have relied on others for survival such as protection and food, and it appears that our relationships still impact odds of survival.”
So when your alarm goes off Sunday morning and you’re tempted to turn it off and pull the covers over your head, just remember: not only are you missing a fun opportunity to connect with your church friends, you may actually be missing an opportunity to add years to your life!
See you Sunday!
Director of Welcoming Ministries