Survey Studies Show: Church-Goers Wish to Continue with Digital Services in Local Congregations after the Pandemic
Survey studies have indicated a growing interest among church attendees in maintaining digital worship services even after the pandemic. In Germany, digital worship was primarily linked to online communities before Covid-19, with little presence in local congregations. However, the pandemic introduced digital worship into congregational life. Two notable studies, ReTeOG (conducted in 2020) and ReTeOG 2 (in 2021), titled “Rezipientinnentypologie evangelischer Online-Gottesdienstbesucherinnen während und nach der Corona-Krise” (or “Recipient Typologies of Protestant Online Services during and after the Covid Crisis”), surveyed nearly 5000 individuals. These studies explored how church-goers interact with online worship and their preferences and expectations for digital versus in-person services.
The analysis of the survey data reveals three distinct groups of online service participants: “skeptics,” who attended online services only when in-person worship was unavailable and prefer to return to traditional services post-pandemic; “pragmatists,” who switched between digital and in-person attendance based on their circumstances and desire the option of digital services after the pandemic; and the digital “enthusiasts,” who were excited about incorporating digital communication methods, familiar from other aspects of life, into their spiritual and congregational experiences. This group particularly valued the novel forms of interaction and participation offered by digital services.
Download of the presentation: https://theonet.de/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2022/07/Sievert_Reimann_GoNeDigiTal_Conference-2022-20220707.pdf