Will the metaverse end the megachurch?

Months before the coronavirus pandemic hit, many churches struggled to acknowledge that an increasing share of their audience had been migrating to online teachers and worship experiences.

When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020, data from the Nashville-based LifeWay Research suggests that many churches were not prepared to take their services online.

At the time, just 22% of pastors livestreamed their entire service, and about 10% only livestreamed their sermon. Some 41% of pastors admitted they didn’t post any portion of their church service online, while about 52% said they posted the sermon online after the church service.

Less than two years after enduring the ravages of the pandemic, however, a lot has changed. 

Data collected in a survey of nearly 2,000 decision-making church leaders for The 2021 State of Church Technology Report from Pushpay shows that most American churches now embrace technology as an important tool in achieving their mission and agree that the digital church is here to stay. The report finds that churches, more than ever, “are enthusiastic to adopt technology for the long haul” as the pandemic “erased any doubts regarding the viability of a digital Church.”

Earlier this year, Pastor Touré Roberts of the Potter’s House of Denverannounced his congregation would sell their $12.2 million, 137,000-square-foot church in Arapahoe County, Colorado, and go completely virtual after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on their in-person attendance and donations.

Many other churches sold or shuttered their church buildings for good. Others have been trying more creative ways to survive outside of migrating online completely or merging with another church, as the pastors of Hope Church in High Point and Renaissance Church in Jamestown, North Carolina, did earlier this year.

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Categories: Organized religion

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