There is no shortage of online worship being streamed by Protestant congregations across the United States.
Yet, engagement of Christians with these virtual gatherings has been mixed and uneven, according to a Barna Group report published June 3.
Nearly all (96%) of the surveyed pastors said their congregations were offering online services, with 40% reporting increased attendance in virtual space compared to their in-person gatherings before the pandemic.
Despite the widespread availability of online services and reports of increased engagement, U.S. Protestant Christians’ involvement in Sunday services has been uneven.
Among “churched” adults – defined by Barna as adults who “have been to church in the last six months” – nearly half (48%) said they had neither “streamed my regular church online” nor “streamed a different church online.”
Greater engagement existed among practicing Christians – defined as adults who “identify as Christian, agree strongly that faith is very important in their lives and have attended church within the past month.”
Only 32% of this group have not viewed any religious services online in the past month.
Between both groups, it was more common to report streaming their own congregation’s services than another service.
Among practicing Christians, 53% said they had watched their own church’s service, while 34% had viewed other services.
By comparison, 40% of churched adults had viewed their service and 23% had watched another church’s service.
The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.2%.
The full report is available here.