Some may suggest it’s possible to love one another in various ways beyond being together at a church service, but there is no adequate substitute for being together in fellowship. The Holy Spirit works in marvelous and wondrous ways when believers congregate. By staying away from your church’s services, you’re snubbing your nose at one of the Lord’s great gifts.
Two-and-a-half-years since the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the rebound of American church attendance remains stalled.
Various surveys find that upwards of 25% to 33% of Christians who previously attended services prior to the virus shutdowns have not returned to their pre-pandemic routines.
Carey Nieuwhof, a former pastor and church leadership strategist, told Christianity Today:
“In 2022, the constant cycle of hope and disappointment will give way to the new reality that this is your church. It will become evident that some of the people who said they’re coming back later clearly aren’t coming back—ever.”
One pastor told me, “Here we are trying to encourage non-Christians to visit our churches, and yet, many of our own people won’t even come back!”
Singling out the one primary reason for this disturbing and disappointing trend would be difficult, but the lean towards online worship inevitably remains in the top tier of explanations.
Virtual worship services pre-date the pandemic, of course, but many churches went all in when they were either forced to close their doors or when their congregations or communities balked at the prospect of traditional gatherings.