There are drawbacks on many aspects of worship on the Church, and the impact is both negative and positive
By Hazvi Jijita
Covid-19 has had an impact on worship in the church like everywhere else. It has disrupted the normalised church worship as well as the praying patterns and church activities.
The impact is both negative and positive.
The church members were set apart by Covid-19 and could no longer meet face to face as usual for section, group fellowships.
For example, people in the Gauteng United Methodist circuit people would go to church twice a week on Wednesdays and Sunday services.
Online live streaming has been done by a sizable number of churches in the past but it gathered momentum in the Covid-19 era.
The church has embraced technology and has remained resilient and reached out to church with members who continued to shepherd the believers through social media Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp.
Wednesday and Sundays church services are streamed live and all other church activities.
The churches leaders have even worked harder to make sure that they stay in touch with members of their church members doing house visit on zoom and WhatsApp platforms.
It has been more than a month now since the church doors opened again after closing at the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Though the attendance is still restricted it is a welcome development by many churchgoers. A sizable number of members have returned to the Church and notably adults. Many people professed that attending church is better than viewing online.
Online streaming is not appealing to many members who said that they could not wait for the churches to be open fully.
Online services are not more fulfilling than face-to-face.
The spiritual invocation is not that powerful as in the church where there is face-to-face interaction. Other members have an impact on how one worships in church.
Meeting in synagogues has always been the norm since the old days.
In Hebrews 10:25 , the bible commanded that “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near”.
The church has always been the meeting point for believers.
Attending church is encouraged as and it is powerful avenue in making people stay connected to each other socially and spiritually.
It boosts people’s social skills and spiritual life.
Many people acknowledged that they feel rejuvenated spiritually after the face-to-face church sermons were people engaging physically with other members every Sunday or Saturday.
A continuous decline on church attendance affects the membership of the church and finances of the church. The weekly Sunday collections will be affected greatly.
It is a way the church raises money and getting less money means that there will be a shortfall on the finances of the church.
The church will struggle to implement the activities of the church and make new plans.
It would be force to operate on a new string budget. It is not a secret that the more people attend church the more the revenues.
Church attendance droppings have a negative effect on the growth of the Members of the church.
Not attending church will not attract new members.
The church might continue to witness low attendance in the future. Church participation has been affected a great deal and there has witnessed a decline on some activities. Since many people attending church are only adults.
The junior church has been largely affected as parents opt to leave their children at home.
In the United Methodist church where child participation is key the children are missing out on Sunday school which is very important in nurturing their faith.
This impact negatively on the spiritual development of the children and the church’s duty to groom future church leaders.
Attending church will remain optional to some members given the live streaming. Some people can opt to watch online in the comfort of their home and go to church here and there. It is the new norm that the church has to be prepared for.
Filling the church to capacity is likely to be thing of the past.
But that is because people’s lives have been overturned, and many have adjusted to new routines.
The streaming of online church services has been a welcome development to people who do not like going to church but like to follow religious activities from distance.
They can move from one channel to another in their quest to fulfill their spiritual desires.
Some members have professed that attending church online is less strenuous especially for large families and people with young children. It has reduced the pressure of waking up early preparing what to wear and saved fuel costs.
One unnamed member had this to say “you just wake up at your own time and you tune in to the church service without strictly following the church service time as long as I get to watch the live sermon.”
There is a greater possibility that the old way of worship will be a thing of the past even post Covid-19.
Live streaming also opened a chance for those less dedicated members to choose not to attend church anymore and disengage/distance themselves from church activities.
Some members will not even bother to watch the church service from the churches they belong to and opt to watch sermons from some of their favourite preachers from other church denominations.
There are fears that members might disengage physically and spiritually since there is no one who can monitor to see if they are even attempting to watch the online services.
Many people will drawback spiritually if there is no constant touch with pastors and other brethren.
It very difficult to maintain one’s spiritual plan outside the church.
Hazvinei Jijita is child rights activist, advocate and researcher. Contact her at
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