For the next four weeks we will be reporting on the responses from our Covid-19 Survey. Thanks, again, for those of you who participated!

The Survey was designed to cover four key areas about what congregations have been experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic and thoughts about beyond

Covid-19. The areas surveyed included:

  • Worship
  • Giving
  • Ministry Volunteerism
  • Learnings from the Covid-19 Era

We begin with worship.

Q.  How has your congregation provided weekly worship?

52% of respondents identified that their congregation live-streamed worship
40% of respondents identified that their congregation provided pre-recorded worship
8% of respondents identified that their congregation provided written worship resources that were either emailed our sent out by mail

Representative Comments

  1. Zoom worship
  2. I appreciate all of the effort involved in making worship happen
  3. We experienced a mix of live streaming and pre-recorded
  4. We had Facebook worship midweek, as well
  5. Our parish provide links to the Archdiocesan Mass
  6. We experienced live streaming and then worship was posted on our website

Q.  How often did you participate in worship?

82% of the respondents said weekly
10% of the respondents said occasionally
8% of the respondents said twice a month

Representative Comments

  1. I attended every day. We have worship offerings 7 days a week.
  2. We attended worship and an adult education Bible study following worship
  3. I church surfed
  4. I enjoyed the involvement of members in video clips participating in worship

Q.  What has been your experience with remote worship opportunities?

85% were either pleased or very pleased with their worship opportunities
15% were not pleased with remote worship

Representative Comments

  1. Live streaming has been well received and has a wide audience
  2. So glad remote worship is available
  3. Not great for our family
  4. It has been very fulfilling; better than having a spiritual vacancy
  5. Convenient
  6. I miss the singing and the people
  7. Enjoy worshipping in the comfort of my home and the accessibility of recorded worship if the time of live streaming doesn’t work
  8. I think it is wonderful for members who are not able to attend in-person
  9. Actually more intimate in some ways. People can join from wherever they are.
  10. Just not the same as in person worship
  11. Incredible! 
  12. We have had many, many more attend remote worship than typically attend in-person worship
  13. I like the feature where we go to “breakout rooms” and pray or study
  14. My Spirituality and Aging group would like to continue with Zoom even if it’s not necessary.
  15. It was a challenge at first to navigate the technology, but it has greatly improved.

Q.  Would you like remote worship to be available after on-site worship has resumed?

92% were favorable towards continuing to offer remote worship
8% were not favorable towards continuing remote worship

Representative Comments

  1. Let’s be together in person
  2. Some form of remote worship has to remain available, particularly for those who will be unable to join on-site worship until there is a vaccine.
  3. It is wonderful to be able to attend remote worship on the weeks I can’t get to church.
  4. We noticed that those who have not attended in-person worship for years, are attending remote worship.
  5. Personally, no. I will support that others in the congregation need to continue avoiding in-person worship. 
  6. We have come this far. It would be silly not to use what we have learned to reach other people who might not be willing or able to come to worship in the sanctuary when we return. 
  7. We have invested $8,000 to ensure live streaming will continue in perpetuity. 
  8. We are installing new computers, hi-speed internet, and multiple cameras so that we can continue online worship after small groups are able to gather in the church for worship. 
  9. Not sure
  10. We’re retirees who travel a lot and we would watch the service wherever we are. 
  11. Remote worship is an easy step in visiting a church for the first time. 
  12. Worship attendance has increased

There is no doubt that as we look towards the future, this moment should cause us to take stock of where we are as a church.

Because of the pandemic, large gatherings/meetings both denominationally and locally have ground to a halt. The leadership of the majority of churches is largely drawn from the Silent and Baby Boomer Generations who place a premium on in-person business transactions. The observations of Generations X through Z regarding the need for technology and a change in how we “do business” is now ringing true.

There is no longer a debate over the virtues of virtual worship and online giving; churches who did not invest in online giving or streaming before Covid-19 are now struggling to quickly catch up in order to make ends meet.

We are being challenged to understand what and just how much we do in person that can be done virtually or more efficiently. The number of meetings and the days we spend at them as well as the way we collect and disburse budgets are two of the many items that should come under scrutiny as we feel the strain of operating during a pandemic.

I’m no infectious disease specialist and I don’t want to politicize this pandemic, but this is going to be around for a while. Some form of continued social distancing will be needed. Whatever the timetable, the pandemic will fundamentally change our lifestyles and global society. It will also irrevocably change our congregations in ways we do not yet know…however, the responses to this brief survey are giving us a good idea!

While remembering our roots, we must be open for God to do a “new thing” for us.  

John V. Clark, President/Partner
The James Company
(815) 353-8997