Report: Church attendance down in South Dakota

Published: Jul. 24, 2022 at 8:43 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Many people have busy schedules and other commitments, which may be part of the reason some churches in South Dakota have begun experiencing lower attendance in recent years.

Jeff Turner, head pastor for Christ Community Church, says this could be attributed to the pandemic.

“We shut down for about four weeks when the pandemic first hit and then we opened things back up and told people to come back as their comfortable coming back to church,” said Jeff Turner, head pastor for Christ Community Church.

In response to the pandemic, Sara Nelson, the pastor at First United Methodist Church, began offering virtual services and says this has helped to improve online attendance in recent years.

“I think it’s allowed for a lot of people who have been a little hesitant because of the pandemic to return to in person gatherings, to continue to stay connected to the community. But I think it’s also allowed people with busy lives to stay connected to the community,” said Sara Nelson, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church.

She also believes church attendance depends on several factors.

“I know that recently there was an article that talked about in general that worship and church attendance is down, and I have heard that from some of my colleagues as well. It depends on the church, and I think it depends on the community,” said Nelson.

Turner believes it’s not so much about attendance but rather, a connection.

“I think we put way too much emphasis on church attendance. It’s not about attending a church, it’s not even about giving. It’s about a relationship,” said Turner.

Local churches want to encourage folks to continue to attend church whether that be in person or virtually.

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