Churches Prepare for First Digital Easter – as Part of 2020 ‘New Normal’ by Heather Sells for CBN News
GNN Note – There needs to be an explanation of why this is acceptable. Once again, selling this idea of the “new normal”. I’m not buying, and neither should you.
In just a matter of weeks, the majority of churches across the country have switched to or enhanced their online ministry. It’s the “new normal” for 2020. And it means a digital Easter as well.
About 400 pastors responded to a Barna Group survey during the last week of March and half reported that they’re experiencing online “attendance” that’s higher than their normal in-person Sunday service attendance. One in three pastors said they think this growth will continue after the current crisis has passed.
But eight in 10 also reported that giving is down – and that’s led to some cutting staff hours and compensation.
Dr. Walter Kim, the new president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), is encouraging churches to ramp up their ability to receive offerings and tithes online.
He told CBN News “Churches that have online giving as a regular practice or significant portion of their congregation engaging in that–they’re going to experience a bit of a decline immediately – but they’ll be able to bounce back. Churches that are in areas of the country where that isn’t as available have some pretty significant challenges.”
The NAE recently partnered with the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College to host a COVID-19 Church Online Summit for pastors and staff grappling with how best to serve their congregations and communities right now.
Many church leaders believe the pandemic represents a unique opportunity to share the Gospel.
A recent Pew Research Center report showed that more than half of adults are praying for the end of the crisis – including people who normally don’t pray.,
Dr. Jaime Aten, executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, says research shows people head to the community of faith when they’re in need. “Churches are often one of the first places people turn to when they are in crisis – whether they need physical, emotional or spiritual support,” he said.