Research shows median worship attendance in U.S. congregations is on the decline, but for some small churches, the move to online worship has sparked new life.
Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations: Innovation Amidst and Beyond COVID-19 is a five-year research project funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and led by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
In a recent article from EPIC titled "During Pandemic, Small Churches Find Growth Online," three congregations talk about digital worship, and how it's grown their communities in a post-Covid world.
All Souls Miami, a Unitarian Universalist congregation, has seen growth since moving to online worship.
“We are now not just a local parish,” said Rev. Kenneth Claus. “Our members come from several states, all parts of Florida, London and Munich.”
The church has grown from 60 to over 100 members since the pandemic began.
The Rev. Meagan Manas of Clinton Presbyterian Church in Massachusetts said attendance may not be up, but her congregation has grown in new ways since the pandemic.
These congregations agree that digital worship — though a tough adjustment at first — is the way for their communities to grow in a post-Covid world.
— Tracy Simmons, Writing and Social Media Consultant (EPIC)