More small groups are meeting now, and more are meeting in person compared to last January. On average, pastors now report 79% of their small group classes for adults that existed prior to the pandemic are now meeting, including 69% that are gathering in person. In January 2021, 36% of groups that existed before COVID-19 met in person, 25% connected online or by phone, 33% didn’t meet and 6% no longer existed. Today, 13% of groups aren’t meeting and 8% no longer exist.
Among churches that had student and kids ministry activities prior to the pandemic, most have restarted but have yet to see their attendance return to pre-pandemic levels. Churches also remain more hesitant to resume all activities for children compared to teenagers.
Almost 9 in 10 pastors who had student ministries prior to COVID-19 say they have resumed at least some activities in person (86%), including 70% who say all their activities are back to meeting in person.
The average pastor with at least some of their student ministry activities meeting in person says attendance for those is 65% of what it was prior to the pandemic. Most (58%) say attendance is below 90% of pre-COVID levels, but 33% report attendance close to early 2020 levels. Another 10% say their student ministry has grown.
Like student ministry, close to 9 in 10 churches who had kids ministry activities before the pandemic say they have restarted at least some activities in person (86%). Churches are less likely, however, to say all their activities for children are back to gathering in person (64%). Almost a quarter of churches (22%) say they are only doing some of their kids’ activities in person.
In the average U.S. Protestant church holding at least some of their kids ministry activities, 64% of kids are participating compared to pre-pandemic attendance. Three in 5 (60%) say attendance is below 90% of what it was before COVID-19. And again, like with student ministries, 32% report attendance close to early 2020 levels, and 8% say their kids ministry has grown.
“The typical church has made great progress this last year in resuming Bible studies for all ages,” said McConnell. “Restarting Sunday schools and small groups have allowed the majority of pre-pandemic participants to re-engage in this vital connecting point.”
This article originally appeared here.