The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the decline in church attendance, even among regular churchgoers, a recent survey shows.
Around one in five churchgoers (22% churched adults, 19% practicing Christians) said they have never attended a service during the pandemic, either in person or online, Barna Research found. Before the pandemic, all practicing Christians and most churched adults had reported attending church at least once within the last six months.
“Overall in the data, we are seeing that there’s a decline in church engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Barna’s director of published research, Savannah Kimberlin, told The Christian Post.
Some of the attendance drop might come from older people, who feel less comfortable with online activities, not engaging church, but the majority comes from something else, Kimberlin believes. The drop in church attendance from COVID-19 follows a pattern of decreased church attendance that began in 2008.
“When we’re looking at general church engagement, there has been a slow decline over the last 10 years,” she said. “Right around 2008, 2009 and 2010, a downward trend started, something shifted in our nation. The trend has been downward ever since.”