After many threats to permanently close churches to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus back in March and April of 2020; It seems for many, it will become a reality.
According to David Kinnaman, 1 in 5 churches will most likely close permanently due to the economic impact of public gathering restrictions amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. David Kinnaman is the president of Barna Group, a research and communications organization that works alongside churches on a variety of matters, including financial services. He stated that although churches dealt with the initial impact of the pandemic "pretty swimmingly," they have had a lot fewer members attending church despite states lifting shutdown orders.
Kinnaman went on to add, "If anything, I think that prediction was based on data about two, two and a half months ago, and I think we're even more likely to see that to be the case today."
Many churches across the nation will most likely face a similar predicament as The United Methodist Church, which had a 26% drop in donations and giving. The National Association of Evangelicals, or NAE, conducted the State of the Plate survey of leaders from over 1,000 churches and found that close to 70% of churches saw a decline in collections to varying degrees.
Brian Kluth, a national spokesperson for Bless Your Pastor and the original launcher of the State of the Plate survey research, shared that "for pastors and church staff, there will be difficult days ahead as more church families are laid off or experience reduced incomes."
Kinnaman gave credit to digital churches and online services as "there will be a lot more online attendance than ever before."
Nonetheless, Kinnaman warns that "there'll have to be even
greater demonstration of the value that a church brings not just to those who attend but also those who are part of this community."