The COVID-19 pandemic which has lasted for more than two years has changed churches much, especially causing a decline in the size of their congregation. The following are comments from two pastors and one church staff member with regards to why believers left their churches.
Pastor C, who serves in a church with more than 1000 worshippers, said that some members never came back to church even when in-person services were resumed, as they were satisfied with online sermons which were more accessible and numerous.
The pastor highlighted that churchgoers worshipping God in person could have an intimate relationship with God and not merely listen to sermons. Some believers thought it was nice to attend online services, as they could sit on a comfortable sofa or even lie in a warm blanket, rather than go to sit in the hard pews at churches and travel by bus on Sunday mornings. But they couldn’t experience the communion with God.
Another pastor’s church is mainly comprised of migrant workers, some of whom lost their jobs after COVID-19 broke out. Although they quickly found new jobs, the working hours and intensity have changed somewhat. Some believers, who have to go to work on Sundays, intended to change jobs to have more time to worship the Lord or serve in the church. But it was not easy to change their line of work, so they chose to temporarily leave the church. The pastor advised holding weekday gatherings to meet the spiritual needs of these groups.
A male believer, a staff member of a fellowship, shared that some Christians refused to return to church after it reopened, as they disliked the strife among church members which might occur in some other churches.
Church conflict has always been a significant reason for the loss of believers. The epidemic has clearly exacerbated the situation, so the number of fellowship members continues to decline. Faced with this situation, leaders of churches and fellowships need to reduce information about extreme beliefs in sermons, so as to prevent some members from going to extremes in their faith journey and becoming judgmental to avoid unnecessary contradictions.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the author is a Christian in Fujian Province.)
- Translated by Abigail Wu