Churches have experienced a surge in interest following the outbreak of coronavirus, new research from the Evangelical Alliance has found.
In a new report out today, over half (59%) of the 900 churches and organisations surveyed reported a marked increase in people interested in finding out more about the Christian faith during the corona crisis.
Over two-thirds (70%) of church leaders reported more people attending services during the lockdown than would normally.
The vast majority of church leaders (88%) said their churches had been working tirelessly to meet the needs of vulnerable people struggling as a result of the pandemic, with 72% of these saying they were working in partnership with local authorities, or other churches or charities.
Among the 196 Christian organisations surveyed, most (84%) said they had to make changes to how they operate.
Across both churches and Christian organisations, the poll revealed concerns around the financial impact of coronavirus, with nearly a third of churches (31%) saying they had made use of the Government’s furlough scheme for some or all of their staff, a figure that rose to 43% for organisations.
When asked what concerned them the most about the fallout on wider society, most churches (97%) cited the economic impact, while 78% said mental health problems.
Evangelical Alliance UK Director, Peter Lynas says, “Since lockdown, we have seen churches across the country adapt to the uncertain environment and speak directly to the fear and anxiety that many people are feeling through the UK. Online services are reporting huge levels of interest and thousands are engaging with church for the first time as a place of hope.”
He continued, “At the heart of the mission of the church is a desire to serve the marginalised, feed the hungry and be a place of refuge to those who are isolated.
“Through food banks and many other service provisions, churches are ensuring vulnerable individuals and families across the country receive the help they need.”
Denominations surveyed as part of the study included the Church of England, Baptist, Elim, Assemblies Of God, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Methodist, New Frontiers, Presbyterian and independents. The survey was conducted by the Evangelical Alliance in partnership with the charity Stewardship and Eido Research.