Faithlife Survey Shows Churches are Returning to In-Person Gathering but Disunity Regarding Policies
BELLINGHAM, Wash., September 23, 2020–New survey data from Faithlife, the church technology company behind Logos Bible Software, reveals that while the majority of churches are returning to in-person gatherings, leaders face numerous challenges to church unity within their congregations.
“COVID-19 has necessitated that churches re-evaluate the way they worship, gather and disciple their congregants,” said Bob Pritchett, founder and CEO of Faithlife. “This data highlights how many churches are still grappling with what the remainder of 2020 and the future will look like, but we believe there are solutions and tools all churches can use to foster community and unity during these unprecedented times.”
COVID-19 has increased divisiveness within many churches. While most churches (73%) report that their staff agrees on how to run their church during the pandemic, many leaders face challenges to church unity within their congregation. The most common challenges are decisions about holding in-person church gatherings (34%), mask-wearing (19%), worship styles (13%), and conspiracy theories (13%). Only 9% of churches reported no divisiveness.
The majority (61%) of churches surveyed reported that they are currently holding in-person meetings indoors with social distancing measures in place. Only 9% are meeting outdoors. The return to in-person gatherings varies by geographic region. In the South and Midwest, 67–70% of churches are meeting indoors with social distancing, and 13–20% are completely back to normal. This drops to 57–62% of churches in the Northeast and West, with 14% completely back to normal.
Most churches report seeing a slight decrease or about the same attendance during the pandemic, but this is influenced by church size. Churches with more than 150 members were more likely to report a slight increase in attendance (27% for churches with 150–349 members, 30% for churches with 350 or more members) than smaller churches. Nearly half of the churches with 50–149 members reported a slight decrease in attendance, while 37% of churches under 50 members reported attendance has been stable.
Faithlife recognizes the challenges COVID-19 has caused for church leaders in reaching their congregation and creating unity both physically and digitally. For this reason, Faithlife offers a set of comprehensive tools to help churches ensure that they are prepared for a “Digital Fall,” including resources for how to set up a vibrant online community and strategies on how to digitally disciple congregants.
“To be fully digital this fall, churches need solutions for organizing online giving, community outreach, congregational discipleship and more,” said Pritchett. “The ‘Digital Fall’ tips break down the otherwise overwhelming process of migrating everything online into easily manageable steps that any member of any church staff can quickly learn.”
More information about Digital Fall is available at https://grow.faithlife.com/Digital-Fall.
The Faithlife survey data is compiled from 361 responses to a survey of Faithlife and Logos Bible Software users completed between August 24 and September 3. Churches represented by the survey respondents cover a wide range of denominations and span the globe, although a majority (76%) of responses come from church leaders in the United States. Additionally, church participants range in average weekly attendance size, including 1 to 49 (25%), 50 to 149 (34%), 150-349 (18%) and 350 or more (23%).
To view more data from the survey, visit https://faithlife.com/ministry-resources/report/fall-kickoff
Faithlife, based in Bellingham, Washington, with offices in Arizona and Mexico, has been using technology to equip the Church to grow in the light of the Bible for more than 25 years. Since 1992, Faithlife has developed a full suite of church management tools, academic study resources, smart digital books, and Logos Bible Software, all part of its integrated ministry platform that automates tasks and simplifies workflows. For more information, visit Faithlife.com.