fbpx

Majority of Americans Prefer In-Person Church Over Virtual Services, Survey Finds

Photo by Sincerely Media via Unsplash

Majority of Americans Prefer In-Person Church Over Virtual Services, Survey Finds

By Movieguide® Contributor

While online church services rose in popularity during the pandemic, a new survey has found that most Americans prefer attending in-person services. 

Barna found that “40 percent of Christians say they would be unlikely to attend if the internet became the sole gathering place for their church,” with just 23-24% of those surveyed believing that meaningful connections to God can happen online. 

Respondents were also asked what elements of church they thought needed to happen in person. 

“We find services like children’s ministry (72%), meeting people’s physical needs (72%), welcoming visitors (71%), emotional support (71%) and ministry to the elderly (70%)” are among the most meaningful in-person church activities, Barna’s survey read. 

A Pew Research survey came up with similar results. 

“Virtual viewers are much less likely to report feeling connected to other worshippers,” they reported, adding that, among people who attend both virtual and in-person services, 76% prefer the in-person services. 

Pew Research also asked those surveyed who they watch online services with. Fifty-one percent said they watched by themselves, further undercutting the community that goes with attending in-person church services.  

“It’s just so easy to be at home, stay in your pajamas, sip your coffee, watch the livestream and feel like you did church but not ever be connected with other believers, encouraging one another and loving one another,” Colorado pastor Kirk Greenstreet told Christianity Today. “It’s been one of the biggest dangers of the online [services] that I’ve seen.”

Movieguide® previously reported on the rise of virtual church services:

Church membership is at a historic low, according to Gallup polls, where membership in houses of worship have fallen below 50% in 2020 since it started tracking church membership in 1937. According to Gallup, church membership decreases with each younger generation with only 36% of millennials belonging to a church as opposed to around 66% of those born before 1946 belonging to a church.

Lunday believes that the ability for the church to adapt to the growing technology is essential for engaging with the younger generation.

He states: “You’re going to start seeing a massive exodus from churches that think the old way because that’s not how people relate to each other anymore. Content is a commodity, it’s not king, it’s a currency. And that’s the point that needs to be shifted. My goal is to help churches see that and redesign their ministries for a world that exists. Right now. They’re designed for a world that no longer exists.”

4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.