While there are a handful of churches still violating the social distancing guidelines and hosting meetings, according to a new study, some 95% of congregations have now shuttered their doors in a bid to tackle coronavirus.
The study by LifeWay research found that on March 1, some 99% of churches were still gathering as usual. The following weekend, roughly 95% held services. By March 15, the number had dropped down to 64%, and by March 22, 11% of pastors say their churches gathered in person.
By March 29, just 7% of church leaders report meeting with their congregations in a face-to-face setting. The research is encouraging, as it shows the vast majority of churches are exercising wisdom and heeding the advice of the experts in order to keep their flocks safe.
“Gathering for worship as a local church is a fundamental expression of the body of Christ, but so are valuing life and loving others,” explained Scott McConnell, LifeWay’s executive director. “As mitigation guidance first impacted large churches, the majority of churches with 200 or more attendees were not meeting by March 15, and only 1% of them met March 22 as guidance continued to shift.”
Almost half the 400 churches surveyed said that they have already written off the possibility of gathering together at Easter time. However, a small number — just 3% — say they will have an in-person gathering no matter what.