Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of clay Magazine or TPS.
Recently, I read about something that deeply upset me. I read a study citing that since the start of COVID-19, two out of three Christians are no longer attending their church, both online and in person, or have switched churches. In fact, thirty-five-percent of Christians have downright stopped attending church, and fifty-percent of millennials have quit attending church altogether during COVID-19. There is no way to put it lightly. The Church has deeply failed in its handling of the Coronavirus.
There are different theories about why people have stopped attending church. In my interactions with others, I have observed two viewpoints that people have for why Christians are no longer attending. Some people say that they are scared for their safety. While this may be the case for some, this is not why so many people have decreased their attendance. I feel as if it is the exact opposite reason. Nevertheless, I am not discounting the first reason since I do agree there are many people who feel that way. People have stopped attending church, not for their safety, but for what I call a failed safety. Many people at my church do not want to go because of all the guidelines. But are these guidelines really guiding people away from God’s body?
The Church is the bride of Christ. It is God’s group of believers, the chosen ones He called out of darkness and into His great light. Something is wrong if so many people are walking away from the Church. I believe that the Church let itself be shut down. It could have respectfully questioned authority better, asking what right the government had to shut down a body that is sometimes apotheosizing American values–rights like freedom of gathering and freedom of religion. Granted, I am no expert, but I honestly believe that the sublimations and guidelines on the Church during the Coronavirus were a failed handling of COVID-19 by the Church and a failed attempt for safety from this disease. There is no other way to put this fact than by stating how lugubrious it is.
I cannot write something like this without adding Scripture and what it says about all this. In Acts 8, there is a great persecution of the Church and Christians are scattered across the regions. Eventually, the Church regroups. In Acts 9:31, the Church is being built up again. This is just one example where the First Church faces many adversities and always seems to rebound.
In the same way, the Bible does not say that the Church today will be perfect or that we will never face troubles. In fact, Jesus specifically says, “there will be troubles” in our life as Christians. So maybe this is exactly that–an adversity, a trouble, an obstacle in the road of the Church. COVID-19 could have been handled better by the Church, but granted, the Church is run by us, imperfect humans, and because of that, we will not do everything right.
But we are God’s body, His bride. Together with Him we can overcome.
“One in Three Practicing Christians Has Stopped Attending Church During COVID-19.” Barna Group, 8 July 2020, www.barna.com/research/new-sunday-morning-part-2/.
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