David King, director of the Lake Institute, said the institute surveyed 555 congregations for the study, mostly from a wide range of Christian traditions, along with a few Jewish and Muslim groups.
While not a representative sample, he said, the study gives a snapshot of how congregations have fared during the COVID-19.
Most have done pretty well, with both participation and finances holding steady.
About half (52%) have seen more people participating during the pandemic. At more than half, giving has remained the same or increased, while 41% of congregations say giving has gone down. Only 14% have had to cut or furlough staff, in part because many congregations (65%) had received a Payroll Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration.
King said he was surprised by how well congregations adapted during the pandemic, especially in the early days last spring.
“Congregations really buckled down and did amazing work, quickly pivoting to online services and responding in a lot of creative ways,” he said.
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