Are Internet Services as Good as Church?

Last year Pastors Henry Fuhrman and Jerry O’Sullivan of Shelter Rock Church in Nassau County, N.Y., began working as TV preachers. For months they livestreamed sermons as Covid-19 ravaged the leafy communities of Long Island, where their church has several campuses. After overcoming the hurdles of digital worship, they now have a new problem: how to wean the congregation off the convenience of online church.

They aren’t alone. Seventy-five percent of evangelical Protestants in the U.S. have attended church online during the pandemic, according to a recent survey by Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research. “We found that 45% of those who experienced online church services now believe that worship online is equal or superior to the in-person experience,” said Mark Dreistadt, president and founder of Infinity Concepts. Only 44% want to return exclusively to in-person worship, according to the report, which surveyed more than 1,000 evangelical Protestants.

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