Mini-churches and exhausted pastors – four crucial COVID-19 trends to follow – GetReligion

COVID-19 is raging.

The same is true of the great impact of the pandemic on American religion.

From declining in-person attendance to pastor burnout, here are four related trends to watch out for:

(1) Churches have changed during the pandemic and many are not coming back (by Janet Adamy, the Wall Street newspaper)

“The the number of faithful has steadily declined in the USA over the last decades, “ Adamy reports. “But Covid-19 and its lockdown restrictions have accelerated this fall. In-person church attendance is about 30 to 50% lower than it was before the pandemic, estimates Barna Group, a research firm that studies faith in the United States.

(2) Why the mini-church is the latest trend in American religion (by Bob Smietana, Religious Information Service)

Smietana paints a portrait of a small church in Wisconsin, noting: “Cornerstone is one of the fastest growing group of congregations in America: the mini church. According to the recently published Faith Communities Today study, half of congregations in the United States have 65 or fewer people, while two-thirds of congregations have fewer than 100.

(3) Pastors are not doing well: 38% consider leaving ministry (by Kate Shellnutt, Christianity today)

“Pastoral exhaustion has worsened during the pandemic,” explains Shellnutt. “An investigation by the Barna Group outing (this week) found that 38% of pastors are seriously considering leaving full-time ministry, up from 29% in January.

See related coverage of the Washington Times, by the former GetReligionista Mark A. Kellner.

(4) Most churches regain financial stability in 2021 (by Aaron Earls, Lifeway Research)

“Coming out of the pandemic, most churches don’t appear to be financially underwater, but many are standing still,” Earls reports.

“About half of American Protestant pastors say the current economy is not really having an impact on their congregation, according to a study by Lifeway Research. The 49% who say the economy has no impact on their church marks the highest percentage since Lifeway Research began surveying pastors on this issue in 2009. ”

Power up: the best reads of the week

(1) His reasons for opposing Trump were biblical. Now a great Christian editor has come out: For me, editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky and the evangelical Christian magazine World have always been synonymous.

Not anymore.

New York Times media columnist Ben Smith explains how a clash over culture and politics (think Trump) led to the resignation of Olasky and others World staff, including editor-in-chief Mindy Belz.

At the Religion News Service, Bob Smietana writes that Olasky “outlived Trump as World magazine editor. But not the hot plugs.

Freelance journalist Julie Roys provides more details on the World staff disruption, and GetReligion’s Terry Mattingly steps in here and in a follow-up podcast.

(2) Catholic Bishops Endorse Communion Guidelines, Avoid Scolding Biden, Other Politicians: “In an overwhelming show of support, U.S. Catholic bishops voted Wednesday to release a new document regarding the importance of Holy Communion – though the text did not single out President Joe Biden or other Catholic politicians as being unworthy of receiving the sacrament because they promote the right to abortion ”,’s Clemente Lisi’s own reports.

Check out the Associated Press ‘additional Baltimore coverage’ Peter Smith, the New York Times’ Ruth Graham, the from the Washington Post Michelle Boorstein and Jack Jenkins of Religion News Service.

CONTINUE READING: “From mini-church to pastor’s burnout, four main COVID-19 religious trends to watch out for” by Bobby Ross, Jr., at Religion unplugged.

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