Survey Finds Faith Community and Small Group Participation Has Dropped Significantly Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

A new survey has found that among Bible readers, participation in a community of faith, such as small groups, has dropped significantly, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The 176-page report from the American Bible Society and the Barna Group examines many themes related to the Bible and its role in the culture, such as measuring Scripture engagement, discipleship, well-being, technology use, and social and political identities.

Researchers found that in January, 49% of Bible users indicated that they were part of a faith community with whom they could explore and talk about spiritual topics. That figure dropped to 39% in June.

Likewise, 43% of Bible users in January were participating in a small group where the Bible was the central focus. By June, only 32% were involved in a Bible-focused small group.

Mike Seawright, an associate minister at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., told The Christian Post that while he does not know what the post-pandemic church looks like, he doubts it will be a return to “normal” as was known before COVID-19 swept the globe.

“I find myself wondering if there is an opportunity for us to turn away from the individualistic, consumer-oriented Christianity that often drives the contemporary American Protestant expression of Christianity, and turn toward a more participatory expression of faith,” Seawright said.

“I do think pastors spend far too much time worrying when we ought to be spending that time learning (and teaching our congregations) to pay attention to what God is doing. And at the end of the day, the good news is still that Jesus is King, regardless of the upheaval in the world around us.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter

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