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A shocking survey released by the Associated Press in conjunction with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) revealed that 26% of people who formerly attended worship services at least once a month before the COVID panic do not plan to return to church.
The survey also showed that while many people are looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family, shopping for fun, and going out to eat as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, only 34%, in general, say they plan on attending in-person religious services in the next few weeks, added The Christian Post.
However, it may not be a matter of will or desire, said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
“It’s a cause for concern that many churches did not survive the pandemic, leaving some people in limbo,” he told the Associated Press. “That’s a lot of momentum to lose and a lot of people stepping out of the habit of weekly worship.”
It may also be a reflection of the sorry state of religious services at some churches where a gospel of prosperity and abundance was regularly preached. When that prosperity ended, perhaps their faith in God diminished as well.
If people think that by simply putting faith in Christ, their lives will be nothing but sunshine and lollipops or, worse, the presence of problems reveals a lack of faith, they are gravely mistaken.
In John 16:33, Jesus himself said, “In this world, you will have trouble.”
It is kind of hard to argue that Christians will enjoy their “best year ever,” when the object of their faith cautions otherwise.
In the same verse, Jesus also encouraged his followers to not lose heart because “I have overcome the world.”
However, the only way to do that is to remain connected not only to the vine, but also to other believers.
Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us in this way:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Meeting together obviously helps us overcome the world and, in that way, we can enjoy not just our best year, but our best life ever.