As many as one in five churches could permanently close as a result of shutdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, according to David Kinnaman, president of the prominent Christian research organization Barna Group.
In an interview with NPR Monday regarding the status of American churches after months of shutdowns, Kinnaman said although churches were handling things “pretty swimmingly” at first, circumstances have changed for some.
He noted that although many churches have opened as states’ shutdown orders are loosened, their services have had “a lot less people coming.”
“They’re recognizing that the relationships that they thought were much deeper with people were actually not as deep as they expected,” Kinnaman told NPR.
Kinnaman then explained that, in keeping with research from earlier this year, he still expected to see about one in five churches permanently close within the next 18 months.