Pastors Now Concerned Members Will Stay Home to Watch Online, Even When Lockdown Ends

[Christian News Network] A research organization that seeks to “consider attitudes and behaviors that significantly impact spiritual growth” says that some pastors are concerned that a percentage of professing Christians won’t attend church once the pandemic is past but will continue to stay home and watch online.

“How church leaders plan and respond now will make the critical difference in how the Church continues after the pandemic,” said Dr. Arnie Cole, director of Research and Development for the Center for Bible Engagement.

“Each of us can choose to virtually attend any church with an online presence. This choice can be an add-on to our active participation in our local church or a substitute for it. Online worship with the megachurch across the country can be a ‘yes, and’ or an ‘in lieu of.’ As behavior scientists, we believe the ‘in lieu of’ scenario is the more likely one, and that has many pastors and leaders concerned.”

The Center for Bible Engagement conducted a survey this month with North American pastors to ask questions such as, “How has attendance and giving been [in the midst of the pandemic]?” and “When you return to holding in-person services, what do you expect attendance will be?”

While the majority said that viewership is currently up and felt that church attendance will likely remain the same or improve after the pandemic, the Center for Bible Engagement is honing in on the 34 percent of pastors who agreed that they are “moderately” worried some will stay home and the 61 percent who admitted that they are concerned a “little.” Fourteen percent of pastors said that attendance will likely be “worse.”

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[Publisher’s Note: This article was written by Heather Clark and first published at Christian News Network]

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