A survey from Barna shows that one-third of practicing Christians have not been tuning into their church’s online worship service or another church’s streaming service during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to The Christian Post, the survey identified churchgoers as Christians who streamed their home church online, Christians who streamed another church’s service and Christians who have stopped “attending” church.
Half of practicing Christians millennials said they had not “attended” church in the past four weeks. In comparison, 35 percent of Gen X Christians and 26 percent of Baby Boomer Christians also said they were not streaming online worship services.
“Though younger generations might be more accustomed to digital routines and innovations, their tenuous relationship with institutions seems to persist during this era of digital church," the Barna report said.
"These trends highlight the importance of churches continuing to reach out to and disciple the next generation, especially those who are seemingly falling away during the pandemic."
The survey also looked at the impact the worship services seem to be making on Christians during the uncertainty of the pandemic.
"Respondents who have stopped attending church during COVID-19 are less likely than their peers who are still attending the same church during the pandemic to agree with the statement 'I am not anxious about my life, as I have an inner peace from God' (76 percent vs. 87 percent, [respectively])," the group reported.
"Practicing Christians who have stopped attending church in recent weeks are more likely than all other practicing Christians to say they feel bored 'all of the time' (17 percent vs. 6 percent) or that they have felt 'insecure' for at least some of each day (11 percent vs. 7 percent)."
In May, Barna President David Kinnaman said in a webcast about how churches are handling the pandemic that COVID-19 is forcing churches to make changes to best reach people.
"We're not going back to normal,'" Kinnaman said.
"I think we're going to see is a really interesting sort of 'new normal,' a lot of deep disruptions that are going to take place over many months and maybe even many years," he said.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.