Some ministers fear the attendance decline will outlive the COVID-19 outbreak.
By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle
A note on the Facebook page of the Glendale Road Church of Christ in Murray, Ky., caught my attention recently.
It referred to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and voiced understanding for anyone staying away from in-person worship for health reasons.
“However, if the reason for your absence is because you’ve become accustomed to staying away, please pray and reconsider rejoining us if you feel safe to do so,” the note said. “God loves you, and we do too, and we sure do miss all of our family and wouldn’t want it to be because someone is struggling spiritually.”
Historically, Churches of Christ have made gathering to praise God on the Lord’s Day a top priority.
In fact, a Gallup poll about 15 years ago found that Americans who gave their religious affiliation as Church of Christ were more likely than any other group to attend worship services.
At that time, 68 percent of members interviewed by Gallup said they attended services at least once a week or almost every week. Mormons were next at 67 percent, followed by Pentecostals (65 percent) and Southern Baptists (60 percent).
But amid the coronavirus outbreak, many Christians have turned to streaming church online or skipping worship altogether, as noted by the Barna Group.
The question that some concerned church leaders are asking: When the crisis is over — when, Lord willing, a vaccine has been developed and proven successful — will attendance return to pre-pandemic levels?
This story appears in the August edition of The Christian Chronicle.