All U.S. Protestant churches are meeting in-person since the end of the pandemic, according to a report released by Lifeway Research last month. Churches have also returned to pre-pandemic numbers and a new normal. 

Lifeway found that 99% of churches were meeting in March 2020, just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. But, at the start of the pandemic, there was a sharp decline, with only 10% of churches meeting in person. Since then, there has been a continual increase in the number of those who attend worship services at their church.

The evangelical research firm found that churches have returned to their regular worship services for nearly two consecutive years. However, the pandemic still impacts how some members gather for worship. 

 “Lifeway Research found 100% of churches met in person in August 2023. That’s not the case for every churchgoer. But the vast majority are back,” Aaron Earls, senior writer, writes.

Nine in ten (89%) churchgoers have returned to the pews. This is up four percentage points from last year. 

While churches saw a steep drop in attendance during the pandemic, some held steady, and others even saw growth. Smaller churches recovered quicker than larger churches. 

More than half of small churches (58%) are near or have exceeded their pre-pandemic worship service attendance numbers. Thirty-five percent of pastors saw an increase in attendance in the past four years. From 2% of churches in January 2021 to 17% last year and 23% today, churches continue to report increased church attendance after the pandemic.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2% and is based on a sampling of 1,004 pastors. For the full report, click here

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