Returning to Church, Livestreaming, & Resuming Ministry
The number of churches that have returned to meeting in person following the pandemic stands at 98 percent. 94 percent of pastors surveyed said they offered some sort of online livestream during the pandemic. And most U.S. Protestant pastors say their churches are also restarting small groups, student ministry and kids ministry.
Churches still recovering from pandemic losses
People returning to worship service as COVID fades
A study of 560 Protestant pastors in the United States reveals some interesting trends related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was conducted by Lifeway Research in early February.
The number of churches that have returned to meeting in person stands at 98 percent, according to the study, that compares to 76 percent that were meeting in person in January 2021.
Around 20 percent say church attendance is close to what it was pre-pandemic. About 12 percent of those surveyed say attendance is better than it was pre-pandemic. At least 80 percent of those surveyed say they have an attendance of at least half of what they averaged pre-pandemic.
Most churches offered livestream during pandemic
As the pandemic caused most churches to cancel in-person services for some period time, many churches turned to an online broadcast to livestream services. In fact, 94 percent of pastors surveyed said they offered some sort of online livestream during the pandemic.
Among those surveyed 40 percent said they did not offer a livestream option prior to the pandemic.
A 2021 Lifeway survey revealed that 45% of those surveyed said they viewed an online church service during the pandemic whether they regularly attended a church service or not.
In the February study, 60 percent of pastors surveyed said they have actively encouraged online viewers to return to in-person service participation.
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Church ministries resuming as pandemic fades
In addition to returning to in-person worship services, most U.S. Protestant pastors say their churches are also restarting small groups, student ministry and kids ministry.
More small groups are meeting now, and more are meeting in person compared to last January. On average, pastors now report 79 percent of their small group classes for adults that existed prior to the pandemic are now meeting, including 69 percent that are gathering in person.
Among churches that had student and kids ministry activities prior to the pandemic, most have restarted but have yet to see their attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.
Almost 9 in 10 pastors who had student ministries prior to COVID-19 say they have resumed at least some activities in person (86 percent), including 70 percent who say all their activities are back to meeting in person.
Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.
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