A longtime culture and church watcher contends that even though America appears to be returning to a sense of normalcy coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, life as it was before the lockdowns isn't likely to return.
COVID-19 kept millions of Americans locked in their homes and away from school, work, and church for months, if not longer. Christian Post executive editor Dr. Richard Land says life will never be the same.
"Everything has changed, nothing's going to be the same," Land tells One News Now. "Our work habits, our commuter habits, where we live, how we order food – all of that is permanently changed by the pandemic, just like my parents tell me everything was changed by World War II."
And while he says that holds true about church attendance as well, Land argues that's not all bad.
"There are people who would never come to church [and] who have been basically unchurched, who have been listening in and have been attending and have been worshipping via the Internet," he points out. "And that's a tremendous evangelistic opportunity."
However, for many who attended regularly before the pandemic, still being able to go online to view their church service – or any other church service – could keep them away from attending live church services … perhaps permanently:
"You also have 25% to 30% of church members who say [something along the lines of] 'You know, rolling out of bed at 9:30 and having a cup of coffee, and going to worship services in our pajamas and our flip-flops is a pretty good deal.'"
Land concludes by stating that he views the COVID pandemic and lockdowns as a test for the Church as a whole – but one that many individual churches did not pass.
"To me," he laments, "the most disturbing thing about the pandemic was the way in which too many churches just laid down and played dead."
A nationwide survey released last fall revealed that only about one in ten Protestant pastors in the U.S. reported that their church attendance was close to a pre-pandemic level.