A new survey by Barna Research found over the course of just a week, most church leaders went from thinking they’d be back to meeting as usual in late or March or April (52%), to projecting the changes would extend to May or longer (68%).
“There is this realism that’s setting in,” said David Kinnaman, Barna Group president.
But while most pastors are realistic, they’re also optimistic, according to Kinnaman. “One of the cool things about pastors we’ve learned over the years is that they are by job description and by disposition more upbeat, positive, hope-filled people,” he said. “So they are often pretty capable of putting a good face in a tough situation, and they, like other leaders, are going to face a lot of tough decisions in the coming weeks as the crisis continues.”
Though most had already called off normal activities at church, pastors also implemented swift changes in policies around smaller group meetings over the past several days.
The percentage who still allow the church building to be used for “small meetings and gatherings” has dropped by about half (from 18% to 8%), according to Barna’s Church Pulse survey, hearing from 434 Protestant senior pastors and executive pastors in the US. A plurality say the church staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future (up from 25% to 40%).
Pastors, yes, are worried about how the lack of Sunday services translates into a decrease in giving.
But the biggest concern is congregants: how to care for isolated members from afar and, in worst-case scenarios, how to minister to the sick and dying https://t.co/ww4GNzQlYW
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) March 31, 2020