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  • Writer's pictureJohn Squiric

How to Win Back Your Congregation During COVID-19!

How Bad Is Church Attendance Slipping During COVID-19?

Here is a Barna - State of The Church Breakdown Boomers:

26% Stopped Attending

11% Switched Churches

40% Stayed at Same Church

Gen X:

35% Stopped Attending

17% Switched Churches

31% Stayed at Same Church


50% Stopped Attending

8% Switched Churches

30% Stayed at Same Church

More important to note. These numbers were compiled from April 28th - May 11th, 2020. It is only presumable these numbers will look worse as time progresses. These numbers show that the "online-only" church model cannot be maintained over time.

How to Win Back Your Congregation During COVID-19!

All the experts will try to spin these numbers and give you their reasons why this is happening, but let's be honest, it all boils down to ONE crucial factor. VALUE.

I spent 13 years in secular sales and another 15 years in church marketing, and every time I got the word NO, it boiled down to one thing. VALUE. People did not perceive my product or service as more valuable than the amount of time or money they needed to invest in that product or service.

For all the categories above the answer to the decline in attendance is just as simple:

Stopped Attending - They saw no value in continuing to attend.

Switched Churches - They found more value in attending somewhere else.

Stayed at Same Church - They still see value in their current church.

So What Do People Want According to the Survey?

1. Church Sermons That Are Not Boring. 2. Prayer and Emotional Support. 3. A Bible Centered Message of Hope and Encouragement.

4. Connection and Community.

Breaking it Down?

#1 and #3 can be accomplished together. Provide some value with your messages and give people hope and encouragement. The COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on people's lives and families is real. Please give them a message on Sunday that they can use to make it through the week and improve their circumstances.

Give them biblical ways to help with issues they are facing during this crisis:

- Loss of a job or financial hardship.

- Help with struggling marriages. - Fear of what the future holds.

- Dealing with anxiety, depression, loss of a loved one. - Hope for the future.

#2 and #4 will be the hardest. If your not meeting, or only meeting online, these are going to be difficult if not impossible to overcome. People are still going out to get things they need and value. I have seen a measurable uptick in attendance of smaller churches we work with that are open during this time when other churches are closed. I have even seen the search phrase "Church Live and In-Person" in Google climb to the top of search terms for our digital marketing programs.

I would encourage you to open the doors as soon as it is safe to do so and do it by following the CDC safe guidelines. Most importantly, stay connected as much as possible with your congregation and community. Don't neglect your online presence if that is all you have.

- Invest in updated tech if yours lacks appeal.

- Stay in front of your members. Make sure you are using social media to connect with people, and you are available for emotional support, even if it is through Zoom or chat. - Make sure members are connected with other members.

- Don't forget to check on the elderly or people who live on their own. - Be positive when all people seem to hear is negative.

You ARE GOD'S CHURCH. You don't have the luxury of closing yourself off and shutting down until we reach an end to this pandemic. Use this time as an opportunity for your church to reexamine how and what you want your impact to be in your community. Be a resource and a light in this time of darkness. Failing to be present during this time, will have an impact on your church and THE church for years to come.


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