Attending a Mature, Healthy Church is Important
The Bible tells us that we need to meet together with other believers on a regular basis. While this may be difficult for those who are experiencing a hardship or the loss of a loved one, it is all the more critical during a grieving period. A mature, healthy church, that takes Hebrews 10:25 seriously, will bring people together in order for them to "encourage one another."
Those who are hurting need encouragement. Of course just because someone needs help does not necessarily mean they will receive appropriate or effective support. Many churches are well-meaning, but their care ministry may not be adequate. Thankfully, many churches have become aware of their shortcomings in this area and have developed programs where those in need can receive grief processing, emotional support, and encouragement from fellow attenders who have been trained in this area of ministry. To find a church with a vibrant care ministry, you can search their website, call their church office, or perhaps talk to a member of their staff.
A recent Gallup survey (2020) exploring mental health trends in the United States revealed that individuals who attended church on a regular basis had better mental health than those who did not attend church regularly. To be specific, 46% of those who reported attending church on a weekly basis rated their mental health as excellent. Compare this to people who reported attending church seldom or never. Among this group, only 29% rated their mental health as excellent. Statistically speaking, it appears that attending church is better for your mental wellbeing than avoiding it.
If you are experiencing suffering and are struggling with attending your regular church, or if you have never attended a church before, take the opportunity to visit churches in your area. Don't let the typical reasons for skipping church (see below) keep you from receiving the encouragement you need.
Why We Don't Want to Attend Church
Many people find it difficult to attend church after experiencing a hardship or losing a loved one. The reasons for this are multiple and often vary by person.
It's difficult to know how to respond when so many people keep asking the same questions over and over again.
It's embarrassing to cry in public.
It's disheartening to hear people, even if they mean well, offer superficial, or even hurtful comments about the grief process.
It's hard to hear religious messages about the need to love God, when it feels like God isn't being loving.
It's taxing to get up from bed, get ready for church, and get out to service on time.
It's painful to see other people living life like normal, when our life is shattered.