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The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first trimester of 2020 led to heavy restrictions in most European countries which forced churches to re-think their weekly activities.

For the first time, thousands of churches started streaming worship services through internet platforms and using videocall platforms to connect members for prayer or Bible study.

A majority believe being able to follow a church worship service on a Sunday online is still a good idea, even when going in person to church is no longer restricted.

‘Online churches maintained or reintroduced’
A 56% of Germans asked by insurance company VRK said “regular online church services should generally be maintained (or reintroduced)”. 49% of church members used these online alternatives in the months with the highest restrictions, according to the report published.

Among the 5’000 who responded to the survey, half were workers in Christian organisations or churches and the other half not. Nine in ten respondents were members of a church (93% members of the national Protestant or Roman Catholic churches and a 3% members of free evangelical churches).

Internet is the most-used information channel mentioned by the surveyed (88% use it one or more hours per day), ahead of television (61%) and radio (40%).

Church websites and influencers
Church members are well connected with the official platforms of their local or national church, with 47% saying they regularly visit their local Christian community’s website. 24% follow Christian influencers and another 24% are informed about the work of Christian movements and NGOs through websites and social media.

When those working in Christian organisations are asked about Artificial Intelligence (AI), 8 in 10 said “it is not yet an issue in our organisation”, although 5% answer that they’re already using AI tools and another 4% plans to do so in a few years.

According to the latest statistics, the largest churches in Germany (the Protestant EKD and the German Roman Catholic Church) are suffering heavy losses in membership. The use of new technologies and an effort to make access to the church life easier is not leading so far to an increase in churchgoers.

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Date published: 02/03/2024
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