Last year when lockdowns occurred, instead of reopening the country by Easter, President Trump decided to expand fifteen days to flatten the curve to 30 days to slow the spread. Last year this action had significant consequences for local churches. A recent Barna study details what churchgoers missed most about in-person services. However, certain data points not emphasized by Barna should be pointed out. Last year, here was the current status of Easter worship.
Only 2% of churches operated business as usual. 10% did so outdoors. But the vast majority did not corporately worship Resurrections Sunday. The data in 2021 is hardly more optimistic.
It’s worth noting that the date of the survey appears to be a typo as the results are incongruent with their, title, article, and previous year’s results. Only 11% of protestant churches are back to normal, as in indoor worship without restrictions. The vast majority are otherwise following government imposed ecclesiology. Another major finding is that livestreaming is here to stay. Considering that the options are not mutually exclusive, it would appear that 71% of protestant churches are including livestreaming as an add-on to their worship. It would appear that this year 22%, the 17% that is prerecording a service and the 5% providing resources for small groups to function as local churches, are phoning it in this Resurrection Sunday.
The rest of the article focuses on churchgoers which is expanded to include Catholics. Communion, socialization, and sermons were the most missed aspects among churchgoers.
The most positive finding here is the expansion of livestreaming. More churches partaking in this medium to proclaim the gospel, I believe has more benefits than drawbacks. It also helps people research churches to attend.
Barna data usually does not paint an optimistic picture about the culture we live in and those who attend church. It’s unclear how many of the protestant pastors surveyed adhere to basic Christian orthodoxy. The number of faithful churches was revealed to be much smaller than previously assumed in 2020 by virtue of lockdowns, Cultural Marxism, and other major fronts. So, perhaps this is optimistic, or perhaps this is just another piece of evidence that furthers the trend observed last year.
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