Survey Shows That More Practicing Christians Are Disengaging From Church During the Coronavirus Plague Pandemic

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.”

The pandemic increased this trend, she said.

“It’s almost as if the disruption multiplied overnight. Five years of disruption has happened over the course of five months,” Kimberlin said.

The survey sampled 1,302 American adults in September. Barna Research classified the adults into three groups: practicing Christians who demonstrated past faith with strong church attendance, churched adults who sometimes attend church, and unchurched adults who don’t usually attend church.

Among all U.S. adults, 53% said they never attended church in-person or digitally during the pandemic. Only 19% attended weekly. Some 73% of practicing Christians and 60% of churched adults said they attended church at least once a month over the course of the pandemic.

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Source: Christian Post