By the time your church re-opens following the Covid crisis, as many as one in five members won’t return, according to one analyst.
Church dynamics expert Thom Rainer told Baptist Press that the recent global pandemic is revealing the true colors of church members.
That means a church of 200 will be a church of 160 after restrictions lift.
Many churches went online when health officials banned large gatherings as hot points for contagion. They resorted to Zoom Bible studies and live-streaming their worship services on YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook and the like.
While online has the advantage of convenience (no drive to church, and if you want you can wear your jammies), it lacks the human touch of a handshake, hug or affirmation that is also an important part of the service.
While introverts probably liked avoiding the social demands, there are others who may also find it easier to drop out.
Rainer describes several categories of believers who will probably not return to church:
The declining-attendance Christian: If their faithfulness to regular services was already waning, Covid only hastened their demise. Now completely overtaken by inertia, they won’t likely return Sunday mornings unless some drastic jumpstart revives them.
The loosely-connected member: The person who didn’t want to get involved in a small group and develop lasting bonds of friendship and was only a Sunday apparition is likely to continue their stay-at-home habits.
Conversely, the person who has strong friendships developed in community will want to be with his or her friends and will show up as soon as the doors open.
The just-another-activity Christian: The soccer mom whose calendar is chock full of commitments might find the relief from Sunday morning obligations a welcome change.
The critical attendee: The person who was constantly carping, finding fault, and complaining will probably not be returning to services. Read the rest: Church after Covid.