Does the online church actually help grow the Church? A new study, billed as the most extensive of its kind, is touting the benefits of doing church online – and no, it’s not to simply build a crowd.
According to “State of the Online Church,” led by Saddleback Church’s Online Campus Pastor Jay Kranda, 59 percent of churches have seen physical growth since launching an online ministry.
The study, conducted last year in partnership with Vanderbloemen and Pushpay, is based on data from 176 online and digital church leaders. Kranda says the evidence is clear, and he hopes the study will allay fears that church online might not be effective in bringing people to Christ or that it would compete with or hurt the local church. The contrary appears to be true.
Of digital church leaders, 75 percent reported that people attended online services first, then showed up in person. Many online attendees were found to be living within driving distance of the church, with 42 percent reporting such attendance.
Overall, 58 percent of these leaders said they agree that online ministry is helpful to their church. And 38 percent saw an increase in giving since launching their online ministry. Meanwhile, approximately 15 percent said they are unsure of the impact.