Best of 2023: Did the Pandemic Change Church Planting?

Episode 790

Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your church differently than others? Host Ed Stetzer talks with Warren Bird about fascinating new research.

In This Episode, You’ll Discover:

  • How church launches and funding were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The effect on planters’ mental health
  • How evangelism and discipleship fared
  • The “big disappointment” in the research findings
  • Advice for planters in light of research

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Sharable Quotes (#NewChurches):

Movie theaters and schools where, disproportionately, church plants meet, were shut down. It really had an impact on church planting. When schools started meeting again, many didn’t let anybody in from the outside, to create a bubble. — Ed Stetzer

I was surprised at how few things dipped during the pandemic. I was brought to tears when I tallied the survey responses and I saw how many hundreds of churches launched during the pandemic. — Warren Bird

New churches put a heavier emphasis on evangelism than discipleship, but discipleship increased. — Ed Stetzer

We found that, both pre-pandemic and during the pandemic, evangelism was stronger than the discipleship component, but during the pandemic, the discipleship meter was almost as high as the evangelistic meter. — Warren Bird

I think it probably was the greatest time of church shifting and switching in our lifetime. I want new churches to be evangelized into existence. — Ed Stetzer

While people are willing to gather in most places now, the volunteering piece—that second step of engagement—has been really slow. It did not surge back with the people coming back. — Warren Bird

Can you imagine three years ago saying, “Hey, everyone, scan the QR code on your screen”? But now the grandmas are holding up their phones and scanning the QR code. It is fascinating how this has been accelerated technologically. — Ed Stetzer

Published December 5, 2023

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