Declining Church Membership After COVID-19

A picture of church pews
A picture of church pews (photo:
By Anthony LeeJanuary 31st, 2024

The church in China generally faces declining memberships after COVID-19, and pastors are doing their best to preserve the trend. 

Several pastors revealed that they had lost one-third to half of the congregation due to insufficient pastoral care, personal slack, a restrained religious environment, and migration.

Those who left their churches may move to gather in more urban, bigger, and more vibrant churches. However, cults and heresies may have seduced some people.

An anonymous pastor in northeast China said that the number of congregations had reduced from more than one thousand to over 600, while the membership of another church dropped from about 500 to around 200.

He shared three reasons for losing members: believers shifted to online services; people who had not never been infected with the virus; elderly people were cautious of attending services; and migration.

His church is strengthening visits to those who have not returned to in-person services, adding more services, and offering discipleship courses.

Some churches in South China witnessed a sharp decline in memberships. Even a church that used to greet thousands of people became much less occupied. A pastor who was inconvenient to tell his name said that just approximately 200 people attended Sunday services, of which the seating capacity reached more than 600.

The pastor claimed that the pandemic was just one of the factors. “The decline began earlier, before the pandemic,” he explained. “The biggest factor is a lack of adequate preaching.”

Since this year, his church has adjusted to pastor the congregation in different parishes rather than as a whole, each of which has eight to ten people.

related articles
LATEST FROM Church & Ministries