Online church attendance quadrupled on Sunday as congregations faced local restrictions and CDC recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a major online church platform.
The Church Online Platform, operated by Life.Church, saw a total of 4.7 million devices streaming church services Sunday, four times the average attendance for a typical weekend.
The platform has seen more than 6,000 new churches sign up during the past week and serves more than 20,000 churches worldwide. It allows churches to stream their own services with chat and one-on-one prayer features.
“With everything going on in the world, we believe it's vitally important for the Church to continue to meet online and spread messages of hope,” said Bobby Gruenewald, Life.Church pastor and innovation leader. “In the same way that hospital doors will remain open to meet the physical needs of people during this time, we're encouraged to see so many churches leveraging online technology to remain open and help meet their spiritual and emotional needs."
The platform is free, according to a press release from Life.Church.
Churches can use a smartphone or camera to “record their sermon, upload it to a site like YouTube, and begin streaming in less than an hour,” the press release said.
“We're encouraged to see such an overwhelming response from churches around the world who refuse to let anything keep them from sharing about God's goodness and faithfulness,” Gruenewald said.
Meanwhile, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention held a webinar Wednesday to teach churches how to livestream services.
President Trump on Monday issued new guidelines urging Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 people for 15 days. The recommendations are a companion to CDC guidelines that recommend “mass gatherings” with 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for eight weeks.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Fizkes
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.