A new study has revealed that American churchgoers would rather invite someone to an in-person church service, rather than a digital service.
Christian research group Barna surveyed 1.302 US adults and found that 64 per cent of churched Christians say they’re open to inviting someone to attend an in-person service. However, 40 per cent say they’re open to inviting someone to join them for an online church service.
The research suggests the way a church held worship before the Covid-19 pandemic impacts a church member’s perspective on inviting someone.
The 2020 Digital Church study found that “those who attend a church which successfully blended digital and in-person ministry even before the COVID-19 crisis are almost twice as likely to say they actually prefer inviting someone to online church rather than to in-person services (48 per cent vs. 29 per cent of those who did not attend a church that engaged congregants well both digitally and physically pre-pandemic).”
Meanwhile, church members are less likely to invite people to other church-related activities like classes and conversation groups. Only 15 per cent said they would invite someone to a digital conversation group, designed for spiritual conversation about the Christian faith.
The research also revealed six in 10 churched adults say they have been extending the same number of church invitations,digital or otherwise, during the pandemic as they did beforehand. One in six say they're extending more invitations during this time, while one-quarter says they are offering fewer.
The study also explored the attitudes of unchurched people in relation to attending a church. It found that half of unchurched adults say they aren’t interested in any invitation to a church activity.