THE CONTINUING IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON CONGREGATIONS: HYBRID WORSHIP, ONLINE GIVING, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE

A new study from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed lasting changes in congregations’ use of technology.

The multi-year study surveyed over 5,000 diverse faith communities.

Key findings show 75% of congregations now offer online worship, a significant increase from 45% pre-pandemic, with most planning to maintain virtual options long-term. The study also found congregations emphasizing virtual over in-person attendance have seen growth, while in-person focused ones have higher per capita donations. Other notable technology shifts include increased online religious education and prayer groups, as well as a boost in per capita giving for congregations promoting online donations.

According to the researchers, congregations embracing technology changes sparked by the pandemic report greater vitality and optimism overall. They conclude these tech-savvy faith communities appear well-positioned to continue connecting with their communities in the post-COVID era.