The Post-COVID Church Report: Online First Contact with Churches Has Tripled Since COVID

by Infinity Concepts | Jul 9, 2024 | Press Releases

EXPORT, PENNSYLVANIA – COVID-19 changed the world. COVID has also changed the Church.

Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research partnered to study 819 evangelical Protestants who at least occasionally attend worship services in person. The goal was to learn if COVID has changed how evangelical Protestants choose a church. The findings can be found in the latest report, Church After COVID: Changes in Evangelical Engagement.

Prior to the pandemic, five percent of evangelical Protestants first ‘visited’ a church through a digital service. Today, 15 percent say they have checked out a new church digitally first — three times the number of those from before COVID.

Given how much time Millennials and Gen Z spend online, one might assume it is the younger generations opting for a remote first engagement. However, the vast majority of evangelicals under age 35 found their current church by showing up in person to a worship service (78%). Just 4% of the youngest adults say their first engagement with their current church was a digital service.

Even with COVID-19’s impact on personal connection, today’s first-time visitor is still getting there because of a personal invitation. Pre-pandemic, 59% started attending their current church by invitation from a friend or family member, while today, that number is 57%. This difference is not a statistically significant change.

Where there is a significant change is by age. Only 51% of evangelicals 55 and older first attended their current church by personal invitation, rising to 59% in the 45–54 age group, 62% in the 35–44 group, and finally 71% among the youngest evangelicals.

The research revealed that 54% of evangelicals attend in-person services on a weekly basis, and a total of 65% attend in-person once a month or more. Thirty-nine percent claim to view digital services weekly or more, with another 15% viewing one to three times a month.

“A variety of research studies have shown many people who were less committed churchgoers dropped church entirely during the pandemic and have not come back,” said Ron Sellers, President of Grey Matter Research.

“There was little measurement of online viewing prior to the pandemic, but when we consider the combination of in-person and digital worship services, it appears evangelicals who continue to attend church may actually be attending more frequently than before the pandemic,” said Sellers.

How should church leaders respond?

“Research studies like these are essential to understand the changes and trends of the American Church,” said Mark Dreistadt, President and CEO of Infinity Concepts. “Digital first engagement has tripled from where it was pre-pandemic, yet three out of four evangelicals are finding a church by walking into a service.

“Anecdotes, assumptions, and unsupported beliefs are not a good basis for determining ministry focus and direction. Church leaders need to make decisions based on real-world information and strategic thought about the people each church would like to reach.”

To explore the complete findings, download Church After COVID: Changes in Evangelical Engagement. CLICK HERE.


To schedule an interview with Mark Dreistadt or Ron Sellers, email Clem Boyd, Director of Public Relations, at clem@infinityconcepts.com or text or call him at 724.930.4003.

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