The Barna Group is reporting some devastating survey results regarding the online habits of Christians that have been streaming online services during the pandemic while their churches have shut down. The results are depressing, but not unexpected when you consider the weight of what these churches committed to.
We cannot find the study yet or link to it to delve more into it – it hasn’t been officially published as far as we can see. We found the report on Carey Nieuwhof’s website in a recently published blog article. Nieuwhof is the founding pastor of Connexus Church and is a frequent collaborator with Barna president David Kinnaman, even so far as having a weekly podcast with him. We are trusting that his information is accurate. He reports on his website:
New polling by the Barna Group shows a rather surprising reality.
Forty-eight percent of churchgoers say they have not watched any church online in the last 4 weeks.
Double-clicking on that information yields another insight:
Only 40% of churchgoers report watching their regular home church online.
23% said they streamed a different church (either in place of their regular church or in addition to their regular church.)
Many have touted online services as the only responsible thing to do, lauding them as a sufficient facsimile of a legitimate church service. Sadly, the refusal to entertain the idea of socially distanced in-person services or drive-in services, where the body can continue to come together as gathered believers under the direct headship of the elders. Instead, they argue their online services, where they watch the pastor give a sermon through a computer screen is a better option. However, it seems to have not resulted in more commitment, unity, and a shared bonded experience from the congregants; but rather a scattering of the sheep.
We will update this post as the study becomes available.
[Editor’s note: we sense a building “I told you so” coming from all of us here…]