Is Covid 19 the death of the church pew?

The covid 19 pandemic has changed the way we do many things.  More things have gone online more so than they were before.  Gyms, schools, mothers groups have all gone online.  Many new apps have been built and the number of zoom calls skyrocketed.  The way we practice our faiths and spirituality has not escaped this disruption.  I have been pondering about how this may change the way we practise faith and spirituality in the long term. My thoughts are still percolating and I would love you to contribute your ideas on this topic.

Personality based spiritual practice rather than location based spiritual practice- is this the new way forward for church communities?

I’ve noticed a few things on social media.  A few personalities hosted daily prayer and faith sharing during lock down and by doing this gained more followers and built up communities that through that space.  Some of these personalities now have over 50,000 followers – probably more than a typical “mega-church”.  It will be interesting to see what these personalities proceed forward with engaging their followers.

A couple of these personalities are:

James Martin – a Jesuit priest and Author

Jonathan Roumi – the actor who plays Jesus in the series the Chosen – written and directed by Dallas Jenkins.

Have you participated in any of these faith sharing groups? If so how did you find the experience? Did you feel as if you were part of a community? Would you choose this type of faith sharing over physical attendance with a congregation? Will this personality based sharing and faith formation change the power structure of the church?

An increase in apps and websites for faith practice, exploration and community

I have come across a few apps and websites that offer different kinds of faith exploration experiences. A few of these are:

  • The Hallow app – an app for prayer – similar to those for mindfulness and meditation
  • Atelier-Grace – a subscription website where, among other things, yoga with a guided examen, and journaling prompts are offered.

Have you come across any faith sharing apps or websites that are subscription based? Have you tried any of these and if so how would you rate them?

Online services – the death of the church pew?

As restrictions have limited the number of people who can congregate in one place church services have gone online. This in some ways, especially perhaps for attendees, has been a good thing. This is because now the type of service that can be attended is no longer limited by by physical distance. If an attendee prefers a different type of service they have an almost limitless supply of services to watch.

However, for churches themselves, a lot of the time this has meant that their revenue has been reduced as online attendees have not been contributing as much financially as at in person services. I have been wondering if church attendance will remain lower than it was pre pandemic due to the online offerings for services and these new ways of practising and sharing faith? Is it the death of the church pew?

So there are just three things I’ve noticed about worship and faith practices during the covid 19 pandemic. Perhaps this new way of exploring our faith with a different type of community was already starting to take a hold but I think it has been accelerated by the pandemic.

What are your thoughts on these new ways of participating in church/exploring faith?  What do you see as the pros and the cons of this? How do you think this will shape the future for how faith and spirituality are practised?

Do you identify with another faith?  How has the covid 19 pandemic changed the way your faith has been practiced? 

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