More people are coming back to church following the COVID-19 pandemic, but recent polls suggest attendance is still below pre-pandemic levels.
Polls by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research show a slight drop in attendance among mainline Protestants over the past two years. In October 2021, 14% said they attended in-person services once a week compared to 16% who said they did so in 2019.
Among evangelical Protestants, 37% now say they are attending services in person at least weekly, while 42% said they attended in 2019.
Embracing online worship
The option of worshipping online has been embraced by many evangelical Protestants, according to the AP-NORC poll. About 3 in 10 said they have livestreamed services at least weekly in recent months, compared with about 1 in 10 Catholics or mainline Protestants.
Three-quarters of evangelical Protestants say they pray privately at least weekly, compared with roughly half of mainline Protestants and Catholics, the poll found.
Roughly a quarter of evangelical Protestants say they’ve recently talked by phone or video conference with a religious or spiritual leader at least a few times a month, compared with about 1 in 10 mainline Protestants and Catholics.