A new Lifeway Research study shows most self-professing Christians attended church, whether in person or online, and are proud of the way their faith community handled COVID-19.
The overall response was positive regarding online worship formats, drive-in church services and social distancing guidelines implemented during the pandemic.
"Pastors have heard their share of second-guessing for how they have handled their church's response to COVID-19," said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. "But a large majority of churchgoers agree with their church's various responses, and few are critical overall."
The results highlighted the flexibility that pastors employed in creating new digital spaces over the last year. Of those polled, 4 in 5 churchgoers (85%) say their church offered livestreaming with 83% participation from churchgoers. Only 12% of congregants say their church didn't offer livestreaming worship services.
A younger generation seemed to be more keen on the "nontraditional" methods of meeting. Of the 52% who say their church offered online Bible studies for adults, more than half participated in them. Adult churchgoers under 50 were more likely to be a part of this demographic than congregants over 50 years old. Likewise, when churches offered drive-in services, participants ages 18-29 were most likely to participate.
"Much like the old children's song, churches have been inside, outside, upside and downside during this pandemic," said McConnell. "It would be a stretch to say churchgoers have been 'happy all the time,' but amid the variety of approaches and technology used, a majority of churchgoers participated at some point in what their church offered."
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