“What if doctors had a prescription pad that just helped people develop greater purpose in life?” – James Hamblin
What is the Theology?
Reflecting on this research, James Hamblin of The Atlantic ponders what positive societal changes might occur if “some of the roughly $3.8 trillion in U.S. medical spending” were to be spent on “purposeful cultivation of community and meaning.” Though speculative, Hamblin’s question hints at the potential role of church communities in helping persons find the kind of purpose that can better their health. As churches meet regularly in worship, they are reminded of their purpose within God’s plan for the world. Through discipleship, Christians also undergo the formative practices of maintaining their sense of purpose through encouragement, prayer, and “building one another up” (1 Thess. 5:11; Heb. 10:25). With a commitment to community and meaning in hand, what role might Christians play in creating a purposeful and healthy society?
What to Consider
- How can your church become a place where people find a renewed sense of purpose in their lives?
- What is the role of preaching in cultivating purpose?
- How might your Christian theology refine and nuance your understanding of purpose?
- What do you make of Hamblin’s suggestion that community and meaning-making might serve as effective preventative healthcare?
How to go Deeper
- Find ways to encourage intergenerational partnerships in your church, much like the tutoring relationships between students and adults cited in this study.
- Start a small group centered on identifying and cultivating a sense purpose in the lives of members.
- Have your church read the classic The Purpose Driven Life and ask parishioners to share stories about how they are learning to live with purpose.
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