By Joy Allmond
As with anything coronavirus-related, regathering as a church is uncharted territory.
Every church has seemingly fumbled their way through ministry since March. No one knows what to expect when people return for corporate worship.
We asked some leaders of churches who have regathered in-person to tell us about surprises they encountered—good or bad. Here’s what they said.
More enthusiasm about returning
“Our attendance at our first service back yesterday was 4% higher than our last service before the shutdown (though we were down 30% that week, from normal). I was pleasantly surprised.”
“We’ve been able to have in-person services every week since Mother’s Day. Our first Sunday back we had about 25% attendance but we’ve grown by nearly 5% each week since. Yesterday we were around 70% of our ‘normal’ attendance pre-COVID-19.”
“We have several families and elderly people who don’t feel quite comfortable coming back yet which I expected, but we also have a large portion who want ‘normalcy’ (normal schedules, normal services, no restrictions, etc…), and that has been very surprising.”
Unexpected attendance in both directions
“Not as many people attended as indicated they would. Not as many people wore masks as we thought would. But it was great to be back! Not sure we will change anything.”
“As I saw pastor friends speak on regathering frustrations, I feared losing the momentum of our drive-in service with tanking attendance upon our return … but the opposite was true. Attendance soared, and we’ve run out of room in both of our services.”
An eagerness to volunteer
“We had a soft opening for church leadership on June 7, and then reopened our facilities for the congregation on June 14. Several other churches reopened in our area ahead of us, so we anticipated many things about the attendance, registration, and process. One thing I didn’t expect was the overwhelming response by church leadership to serve as greeters and ushers. We had more help than we needed which made reopening the facilities not only encouraging, but warm and welcoming. As a result, we’re working to spread out our volunteers in other areas and throughout other services during the summer.”
“Our attendance has been good. We chose two services. We have a lot of people willing to clean between services and people willing to serve for sound and piano in both services. God is so good!”
JOY ALLMOND (@joyallmond) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.