PUTTING ASSETS INTO ACTION: Find a place in a religious community

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By The Staff

“Isn’t that special?” Saturday Night Live-The Church Lady

This week, we take a look at Asset #19, religious community. According to the Search Institute, “Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they spend one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.”

Did you know that in one of a variety of phone books this community has, there are no less than 22 churches and religious organizations listed as resources in our community?

If I look at one of the very basic things offered by a religious community, it causes me to ask a question…what would happen if you died?

Do you have a community of like- minded friends that would rise up to assist your family?

 Where would your family hold a funeral for you or your significant other?

Let me be honest here and tell you that I didn’t have church home for most of my life.

I went to church with a variety of people and learned a variety of things. I didn’t actually join one until just before I had my own children.

The purpose of this article isn’t to chase you into something you don’t want to do, church has to be a place you want to be and a community you want to be involved in.

It doesn’t mean you need to spend your entire weekend in a church or synagogue. The data highlights that families spend an hour there.

That’s considerably less time than you spend watching television, emailing or web surfing or possibly even in the grocery store.

If you don’t have this Asset in your life and might consider it, let’s take a look at some things.

The first thing to take into consideration when looking for a church home is to find a place you fit.  That’s right, time to go shopping!

There is a term called, “church shopping,” and it is just that, looking around to find out what you want in a church.

There’s a lot to consider and some congregations have focus groups that spend large amounts of time looking at what makes someone feel welcome in their facility.

The most important thing about a religion is their creed, their motto, their belief and value system.

It doesn’t mean that you’ll like everybody and it doesn’t mean that you’ll be sitting around the campfire signing Kumbaya. Okay, some groups actually do sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya.

My point is to just find a place that makes you feel at home. Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?

Is there a right and wrong way to do something?

Is the Bible the only resource?  You can also do a lot of shopping on line to get the gist of what your local facilities have to offer.

Perhaps you don’t like the word religion? How does spirituality sound? Maybe you’d like to be on the path, but you aren’t quite ready to find a place. I’ve have a resource for that too. “10 principles for Spiritual Parenting: Nurturing Your Child’s Soul” by MiMi Doe and Marsha Walsh, Ph.D from Harper Perennial might be what you’re looking for or check out Mesa Public Library for its selections.

If you think this is only important for those with younger children, consider the pre-teen who has some tough choices ahead.

A religious community might just be the shoulder they can lean on when they can’t come to you.

Your children might be well into those teen years now and you’ll soon be sending them off to college or to some job out in the real world.

That journey might be much easier if they have some like-minded people waiting on the other end. Now they have increased their chance for success and reduced their opportunities for stress because there’s another type of family to greet them when they get there.

Bernadette Lauritzen is the Assets In Action Coordinator sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. You can hear her from 9-10 a.m. Mondays on AM 1490, KRSN.