Those of us who are part of the Parkway family of faith are aware that, beyond the most important and fundamental benefit of church membership of helping to deepen our relationship with God, there are other tangible benefits as well, most of which have to do with the connections we have with other Christians. But did you know that those benefits have a profound impact on one’s happiness in retirement? Just another reason to come to church.

Since most people these days don’t read the print media (though I think you should), I want to cite an article that was in The Atlanta Journal Constitution last Friday. Wes Moss is the chief investment strategist for Capital Investment Advisors and and the host of Money Matters on WSB radio. He conducted a study of over two thousand retirees in the U.S. His conclusion: “Simply put, if you want to be happy, we found that a little religion is good, but more is better — up to a point.”

His team found that going to church once a week made you one and a half times more likely to be happy that those who did not attend at all. The news wasn’t so good for those who only attend church on special occasions like Christmas and Easter. They were fifty percent more likely to be unhappy than those who attend regularly.

In the interest of full disclosure of the information, I’ll give you one more piece of information, although I’m not sure what I want to do it. The survey showed that if you attend multiple times a week “happiness levels actually tailed off a little bit.” Moss wasn’t sure what to read into it either.

It’s a pretty safe bet that I’m not going to suggest to those of you who are here for prayer meeting and/or choir practice on Wednesdays or who attend meetings other times during the week that you should dial it back a notch. Those of you who fall into the most active category seem happy enough to me. I don’t think you need to cut back.

On the other hand, if those of you in retirement or who are contemplating retiring are thinking of decreasing your participation in the life of the church, that doesn’t sound like such a good idea to me. Who wants to be less happy than they are right now?

Moss notes that it is actually what accompanies religious experience that matters. The church provides a multitude of service opportunities, and the common core pursuit of the happiest retirees is volunteering. We’ll be glad to provide opportunities for you to be happier through service.

The most obvious source of happiness to be found in church is through our sense of community and belonging. You can only get that if you’re here. It doesn’t come through listening to the sermons online or reading the newsletter. It is also true that happiness is contagious and I can tell you from personal experience that the members of the Parkway family who attend regularly are some of the happiest people I know.

If, through a serious examination of your own happiness, you find there is room for improvement — whether you are retired or not — I’m going to suggest you come to church more often. But then, you probably figured that was where I was going with this, didn’t you?