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.