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COVID-19 Church Survey Summary Report


Andrew MacDonald, Ed Stetzer and Todd Wilson

"Churches are not exempt from this sense of uncertainty as they try to carve out new routines for weekly services and ministries in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic."

In partnership with the Billy Graham Center's Send Institute, Leadership Network, Catalyst, Discpleship.org, and ARC, Exponential conducted a survey of church leaders and pastors' responses to the COVID-19 epidemic and quarantine. The purpose of this polling is to help church leaders get a feel for where things are regarding the state of the Church and significant challenges as they adapt to their new reality of remote ministry.

According to the 1,000+ church leaders who were surveyed, pastors and church leaders are experiencing the same uncertainty that we are seeing in other industries during this crisis. Churches are not exempt from this sense of uncertainty as they try to carve out new routines for weekly services and ministries. In our immediate poll, over half of the leaders surveyed (54%) registered their uncertainty about the future and a willingness to only take things one week at a time.

Pastors also indicated they are struggling to navigate the obstacles of technology-based ministry. When we asked pastors and church leaders to choose the major obstacles they’ve faced in moving their churches online, more than half (53%) of respondents said that creating engaging interactions was a significant obstacle in their online gathering. 

Churches and pastors find themselves like much of the world - wondering how this pandemic will affect their church's financial models. A majority of pastors who responded (57%) asked for content on how to survive the financial crunch. Even as pastors are primarily focused on connecting with their people and reestablishing ministry routines, the economic reality of this epidemic is beginning to hit home.

In the complete findings of this report you will find:

  • The full list of what pastors and churches are working through as they walk through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • How churches are adapting to the use of technology and the response of their churches to moving to online ministry
  • A full list of innovations many churches have implemented that you may find helpful in your particular church setting

This Report is one of many resources available on our COVID-19 Resources Page. Click here for more.

Thanks again to our partners the Billy Graham Center's Send Institute, Leadership Network, Catalyst, Discpleship.org, and ARC for helping to get the word out about this important study.


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Andrew MacDonald

Andrew MacDonald is the Associate Director of the Billy Graham Center Institute. He has an MA in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Talbot School of Theology and is currently a PhD Candidate in Historical Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Andrew and his wife Jenna live in Wheaton, Illinois with their two children.

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College. Ed also serves as the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton, and as chair of the Evangelism and Leadership Program in the Graduate School. Ed is a prolific author, and well-known conference speaker. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written or co-written a dozen books and hundreds of articles. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is also the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project, which is used by over 1 million individuals each week. Stetzer also co-hosts BreakPoint This Week, a radio broadcast that airs on over 400 media outlets.


Todd Wilson
President and CEO of Exponential

Todd is a Kingdom entrepreneur. He spends the majority of his time starting and working with organizations committed to Kingdom impact and multiplication. Todd is a founding member of Exponential, which organizes and hosts the annual Exponential conference in Orlando and live events throughout the United States and world. Todd serves as President and CEO of Exponential, providing vision and strategic direction to the organization. Todd lives in Manassas, Virginia, with his wife, Anna. They have two sons and two beautiful daughters-in-law: Ben (married to Therese) and Chris (married to Mariah).


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