by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A new survey shows that, although almost all churches have reopened since being placed in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, 15% of congregants have still not returned to in-person services, the Washington Times reports. Released on Tuesday, the survey was carried out by the Southern Baptist-affiliated Lifeway Research organization.
Conducting its survey between September 6-30, Lifeway Research polled 1,000 Protestant pastors whose churches were open for worship, the Times reports. Fewer than 1% of pastors said they had not yet resumed in-person worship services.
“While there are a handful of exceptions, we can definitively say that churches in the U.S. have reopened,” Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a statement.
“While masks began to rapidly disappear in many settings in 2022, churchgoers have not reappeared quite as fast. Why the return to the pews is lagging is unclear.”
“While some pre-COVID churchgoers have not returned to church at all, much of the decline in attendance is from people who are attending less often,” McConnell said.
In February 2021, a Lifeway Research survey found that 91% of congregants would return to in-person church services once the threat of COVID-19 had passed, the Times reports. At this point, 85% of churchgoers have now returned.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.