A strong majority (91%) of churchgoers plan to return in-person for worship services “when COVID-19 is no longer an active threat to people’s health,” according to a LifeWay Research report published March 9.
Nearly a quarter (23%) say they’ll be doing so with greater regularity than before COVID-19 mitigation efforts, with 68% planning to attend the same amount. By comparison, only 9% plan to attend less, rarely or never after the pandemic.
A slim majority (52%) did not attend in-person worship during January 2021, with 22% of this total noting that their church did not hold in-person gatherings and 30% that they chose not to attend in-person gatherings.
With many congregations not holding in-person gatherings for much of 2020, most (83%) churchgoers turned to live streaming services at least once, with nearly one-third (32%) doing so 18 times or more.
The volume of live stream engagement by respondents was fairly balanced, with 10% watching 1-2 times over the past year, compared to 3-5 times (13%), 6-11 times (15%), 12-17 times (12%), 18-35 times (12%), 36-47 times (9%) and 48 or more times (11%).
Despite a year without regular in-person worship gatherings, most respondents (87%) had maintained their church affiliation, with only 13% no longer at the same church.
Of the 13%, 5% are now connected to another church in their area, 5% no longer have a church affiliation, and 3% moved houses and, as a result, churches.
The overall margin of error was plus-or-minus 3.2%. The full report is available here.