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October-November 2023

Forging Ahead


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BETTER TOGETHER | More Than Politics! Your Community Needs the Church


Election season is here, and many are concerned about the future of their communities and country. The community depicted below is likely very concerned about our current state of affairs.
This chart comes from a Know Your Community (KYC) report where a Free Will Baptist church is located. This community is characteristic of the 13% of Free Will Baptist churches that have participated in KYC.


Middle of the road is always the highest ideology, but 43% of community respondents also describe themselves as very or somewhat conservative. They likely would endorse beliefs consistent with Scripture and might even have a high respect for the church. However, when asked, “Do you attend religious services regularly?” 41% percent disagreed completely, and 18% disagreed somewhat. The majority (59%) of this highly conservative community are not attending religious services.

Many in this community probably have a strong sense of right and wrong. For example, they are probably concerned about drag shows in front of children and other social issues. Those concerns may not persist without involvement in a local church. In 2001, 57% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage, and 37% favored it. In only 15 years, that shifted to 61% support, with 31% opposing same-sex marriage. As Ryan Burge has noted, “The hold outs do tend to be more religiously engaged.” Christ and the church are key to a biblical ideology as well as the well-being of a community. Here are three groups that benefit from church attendance.

  • The church is good for children. Most ONE readers are well aware of how church benefits children. However, rigorous research indicates being brought up in church has a wide range of mental and physical benefits that extend into young adulthood. Media probably will not report on this research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Those who want to help their community should double down on Sunday School (, partner with CEF (, start an Awana club, and reach children.

  • The church is good for couples. Couples are struggling today, even Christian couples. However, Christian couples who regularly attend church are significantly less likely to divorce or have marital disruption. It appears this relates to prayer activated in their lives and relationships built with others at church. Perhaps consider marriage mentoring from Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott:

  • The church is good for older people. Long ago, I asked Duke University researcher Harold Koenig, “Is it better for my health to go to the gym or church on Sunday morning?” I suspect many are surprised church attendance impacts mortality and morbidity in important ways. Regular church attenders live longer and have later onset of disability in life. The result is so potent Gallup researches recently asked if boosting religiosity should become a public policy aim.

So, if you are worried about your community, by all means engage politically, but remember, the answer is Christ and His church. Both Scripture and data teach us involvement in a local church changes a community for the good. Let us tout that message in a world turned upside down.


About the columnist: Eddie Moody is the executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists