Most US churches will continue online services along with in-person gatherings post COVID, study shows
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A new survey shows that, in the wake of the pandemic, fewer than 30% of US churches expect to offer only in-person services going forward, with a large majority wanting to offer two or more options, the Christian Post (CP) reports. The survey found that 81% of US churches expect to offer a hybrid of in-person and online services.
Titled State of Church Technology 2023, the survey was conducted by Pushpay, a major payments, and engagement solutions provider for faith-based and nonprofit sectors, CP said. The study surveyed leaders of more than 2,200 churches from all denominations across the US; two-thirds of the respondent church leaders have a ministry budget of less than $1 million.
Respondents were asked what they thought their services would look like in a year’s time, and only 28% said they would be offering only in-person meetings, CP reports.
A further 25% said they expect their church to meet in the “metaverse” online, in what Facebook describes as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”
Ninety-four percent of churches said technology is very important to their ministry, the survey found. At the same time, many churches said the cost of technology is an obstacle to offering the quality of digital ministry they would like.
In a statement about the results of the survey, Pushpay said: “Surprisingly, instead of selecting a single answer, hundreds of respondents selected two or more options. This indicates significant uncertainty about what their ministries may look like in a year’s time. That level of doubt hampers a church’s ability to make informed tech decisions. Adopting new digital tools should be grounded in a vision of the future—but at this inflection point, that may be difficult for many ministries.”
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