As of last weekend, only 7 percent of Protestant churches were recorded to have met in-person and even fewer plan to meet for Easter in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the survey carried out by Lifeway Research, 99 percent of Protestant pastors met on the first Sunday of March and after which the percentage dropped each succeeding week.
The poll reads that 95 percent met on March 8 while on the 15th of March, 64 percent met, on the 22nd of March, 11 percent met and on the 29tg of March,7 percent met.
The executive director of LifeWay Research,Scott McConnell, said the shift was even more prominent among churches with 200 or more attendees.
In an online analysis, McConnel said gathering for worship as a local church is a fundamental expression of the body of Christ, but so are valuing life and loving others. Adding that “As mitigation guidance first impacted large churches, the majority of churches with 200 or more attendees were not meeting by March 15, and only 1 percent of them met March 22 as guidance continued to shift.”
As reported by LifeWay Research ,Only 3 percent of churches said they will meet in-person on Easter “no matter what.” Nearly half (47 percent) already have decided to cancel services.
Also making known that 92 percent of churches are live-streaming their services or providing members with a pre-recorded video.
According to the poll,43 percent of pastors said they “livestreamed a sermon or worship service this last month because of the coronavirus and do not typically do this,27 percent “did not livestream, but we did post a video sermon for our congregation to view any time because of the coronavirus, 22 percent “continued livestreaming of our sermon or worship service as we were already in the habit of doing while 8 percent did not livestream or provide a video.
The rapid adoption of providing video content has just been abrupt as ceasing in person meetings which have made churches who never would have considered offering a streaming or video option to have done so. McConnell said.rapid adoption of providing video content has been just as abrupt as ceasing in-person meetings,” McConnell said.
However, their pastors had been compelled to stay connected and to continue to provide spiritual guidance during this trying time.”
The pandemic has had a major impact in other areas, too. Forty-two percent of pastors said at least one attendee has lost their job. More than half of pastors (52 percent) said giving to their church has decreased.
The poll was based on an online survey of 400 Protestant pastors March 30-31.