Is this email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Impact of COVID-19 on ABCUSA Congregations
Note: to view larger versions of the charts included below, click on the images directly.
In May, American Baptist Churches USA conducted a survey of their congregations to assess the impact of COVID-19. A total of 414 congregations responded and a summary of the quantitative results is included below, along with a link to the full report.

Overall Impact
While the survey indicated that a slight majority of the congregations surveyed are experiencing only a slight or moderate impact from COVID-19, a small percentage of ABC congregations have been hit very hard by the pandemic. The majority (63%) believe that they are in an area with fewer cases than the rest of the country, about half (52%) indicated that COVID-19 has had a moderate or less impact on their congregation, and a smaller percentage (14%) reported being hit very hard financially stating that at least 20% of their members are unemployed.
Worship and Ministry
The survey shows signs that many congregations have delivered a hardy response to the adverse effects of COVID-19. While the pandemic has elicited both positive and negative influences upon the congregations surveyed, sometimes the dual influences have occurred in same areas such as worship and outreach. A few highlights include:

  • 73% of respondents believe that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their worship, but a slightly higher number (77%) believe that the pandemic has also created new opportunities for worship. Similarly, 50% believe that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their outreach, while 61% believe that it has created new opportunities in this same area of ministry.
  • Over half (57%) of respondents say that their worship attendance has increased during the pandemic compared to only 14% who say it has declined.
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 respondents indicate that they plan to continue to offer online worship following the stay at home orders.
Financial Impact
In most cases, increased worship attendance has not translated into increased giving. 60% report that giving has decreased compared to only 16% who report that giving has increased during the pandemic.

In terms of balancing the budget, one-third expressed no concern, another third expressed some concern, and a third expressed moderate to heavy concern.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents say that their congregations are not worried about paying their pastor and staff in the near future.
Future Outlook
While COVID-19 has taken a severe toll on some congregations, others have shown strong signs of resiliency and hope.

38% of respondents anticipated that their congregation will be "healthier than it was before" following the pandemic, compared to only 12% who said they believe it will be "less healthy than it was before."

42% of respondents said that they feel their congregation is an extremely innovative or very innovative congregation, signaling creative responses to COVID-19.
For a more comprehensive look at the findings of this study, please visit the link below.
Please direct questions to:

Dr. C. Jeff Woods , Acting General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA
Lake Institute Releases Report on Faith & Giving During COVID-19

Last week, our partners at the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving released a report entitled Faith and Giving in the Time of Covid-19 .” The report details findings from a survey conducted in late April and early May and is based on 595 responses, just over half of which were from congregations. The summary available via the link below focuses on immediate challenges, short-term challenges, and longer-term challenges, as well as how they identify and prioritize resources.
Access & Share Research: U.S. Religion During COVID-19

As the pandemic continues, the Faith Communities Today website is continuing to build upon a section dedicated to research and resources related to U.S. religion during COVID-19 , including denominational reports demonstrating the impact of the pandemic on their congregations. Our goal is to serve as a valuable central repository on how COVID-19 has impacted the world of religion. If your faith tradition or denomination has conducted related research, we would love to hear from you . We are also happy to be made aware of additional studies that we have not yet featured or included.
Recent News and Research for Faith Leaders
Faith Communities Today |