10 Evidences that Churches are COVID-19 Weary

We’ve now been dealing with COVID for almost seven months. While churches have done a great job of quickly pivoting to respond to this crisis, congregations and their leaders are getting tired. Here are some evidences of the COVID-19 weariness:

  1. Pastors are often discouraged and weary. I can’t tell you how often I hear of another pastor who’s just burned out from this ongoing problem. They’re just tired.
  2. Churches that haven’t regathered are growing tired of waiting. Some members, in fact, are visiting other churches until their home churches gather again. They may or may not return to their home church.
  3. Small group participation by Zoom, in many cases, is waning. We’re all just tired of seeing each other only on a computer screen. It was a great tool at the beginning, but not so much inviting anymore.
  4. Smaller crowds are getting discouraging. At first, we were glad just to be gathering again, and we didn’t worry about the numbers. Folks are still returning, but those who were accustomed to preaching to much larger crowds are beginning to wonder what the future holds.
  5. Church squabbles are beginning to rise again. We put them on the back burner when COVID required unity and focus, but I’m beginning to hear of more internal conflicts coming to the surface again.
  6. Parents are growing tired of their church’s delay in re-starting children’s ministries. After all, their kids are often back in school in person – so why can’t the church do the same? Their families aren’t returning to church until that happens.
  7. “Mask frustration” is becoming more vocal. Even those folks who didn’t like it were often willing to wear a mask when their church first re-gathered, but now they’re letting their opposition be known.
  8. General weariness coupled with political debates is leading to church division. The perfect storm of COVID plus a volatile political season hasn’t helped with unity in the church. We may even see church splits over some of these issues.
  9. More members are verbally challenging the church’s faith if they continue to proceed with great caution due to COVID. Few people expressed that concern early in COVID, but now they are. People of faith, they say, should never surrender to fear.
  10. Some pastors are ready to relocate as soon as God opens the door. They delayed conversations and interviews during the early days of COVID, but now they’re ready to start the process again. COVID has only increased their weariness with their current congregation.

What evidences would you add? 


  • Robin G Jordan says:

    The reactions that you are describing are not surprising considering that the pandemic is forcing people to make major changes in their lives and people generally are resistant to major changes in their lives. They do not like what they have become accustomed to being disrupted. A segment of the church-going population has been quite vocal in their denial of their severity of the pandemic and their dismissing of cautiousness as fear and lack of faith. They are very persistent and with people spending more time on social media, they are gaining a larger audience.The same population segment is also spread misinformation about the pandemic along with a variety of conspiracy theories, including QAnon. In the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and elsewhere a growing number of people are rebelling against public health measures intended to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus, particularly young people. However, where this is happening the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise again. While the younger people may experience milder symptoms, they are spreading the disease to more vulnerable members of the population. They themselves also do not invariably experience mild symptoms. The problem is that .none of these groups will be held accountable in any way for their contribution to any increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, either by encouraging others to disregard public health measures or disregarding themselves. . In Central and South America where evangelical pastors have been encouraging their congregations to rely on faith alone, the death toll has been quite staggering. A number of these pastors have also died. When one examines closely the arguments that those who claim that Christians should rely on faith, not public health measures to protect them, you often find that these individuals are actually expressing what are cultural attitudes and New Thought teaching, associated with the prosperity gospel. Among the cultural attitudes is that people should not acknowledge weakness and vulnerability. They should only project strength and invulnerability–machismo, manliness, suffering in silence, and so forth. The New Thought movement emphasized the power of the mind in healing, what is sometimes known as the “mind cure.” A number of Pentecostal preachers were influenced by this concept in the last century and through their preaching and teaching it was entered American Christianity and from American Christianity spread elsewhere in the world. In their version of the concept faith in a God who blesses people with material prosperity, wealth, success, and good health has replace naked mind power. The more we believe in the ability of God to grant these blessings, they teach, the more God rewards us with these blessings. Another theological/philosophical view point that is influencing those who are insistent that we should rely on faith alone is the belief that God works only through miracles, through supernatural means. They dismiss the possibility that God also works through ordinary means. In other words, they are insistent that God do things the way that they want him to do things rather than through the way that he chooses to do things. This view treats God as a genii in the lamp. If you rub the lamp hard enough, the genii will pop out and grant your wishes. It does not recognize that God is sovereign and his ways are not our ways or his thoughts, our thoughts. Since they are not going to be held accountable in this world for encouraging people to make the wrong decisions, it is easy for them to urge others to make such decisions. If someone does fall ill from COVID-19, they will declare that the person in question did not have enough faith or was not one of God’s elect or offer some other explanation which blames the individual who listen them and excuses themselves from any responsibility. People really need to come terms with reality: COVID-19 even with a safe, effective, and affordable vaccine will be with us well into the next century. Surveys show that 30% of the people who were surveyed said that they would not allow themselves to be vaccinated. We are in the COVID-19 era. There is no way of escaping it!

  • mark says:

    The religious sector is not much different than the private sector. Ask any professional if they are tired of things and if they are burned out. They are either coping as best they can or going mad. Religion survived the plague, and it will survive this one too. Perhaps instead of long sermons prayers would be more appropriate.

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    I took this prayer from the 1559 Book of Common Prayer, which was used during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and with some additions during the reign of King James I. I have modernized the spelling. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century Christians saw epidemics as God’s punishment for humanity’ sins and a time for repentance. They prayed that God would spare them. But before they prayed for God’s deliverance, they confessed their sins and asked God’s forgiveness. They did not question the rightness of God punishing them in this manner. They had a much greater awareness of human depravity than we may have today.

    “O ALMIGHTY God, which in thy wrath, in the time of king David didst slay with the plague of pestilence, three score and ten thousand, and yet remembering thy mercy, didst save the rest: have pity upon us miserable sinners, that now are visited with great sickness, and mortality, that like as thou didst then command thine angel to cease from punishing; So it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague, and grievous sickness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    Compare how they viewed epidemics with the way some Christians see them in our time. They believe that God has promised them prosperity, success, material possessions, and health. The more they put their faith in this promise, the more God will reward their faith with these blessings. They essential believe that the blessings they will receive will be in proportion to their faith. God’s blessings are quid pro quo for their faith. Jesus, however does not promise his followers that they will have an easy life. In fact, he tells them that they will suffer like he did. Now who has gotten it right—the sixteenth and seventeenth century Christians or these modern-day Christians?

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