Future faith: How the pandemic is changing the ways we worship

A Lutheran service book in a church.
Pastor John Henry records a sermon for Holy Week in an empty sanctuary so members can have access to messages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hannah Yang | MPR News 2020

Most churches, mosques and synagogues are meeting in person again. But faith leaders see signs that spiritual communities will not return to pre-pandemic norms.

Physical church attendance, already in decline for decades, has fallen even more. Even after reopening, the average church reports a 36 percent drop in attendance levels.

Generational differences are also coming into stark contrast. Boomers are the only generation who say they want to return to physical worship. For Generation X, millennials and Generation Z, less than half want to return to weekly gatherings, preferring a hybrid approach.

But not all faith leaders are dismayed at the changes, choosing instead to see this as an opportunity to rethink how and why faith communities gather. So what should change? And why?

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Thursday morning, host Kerri Miller spoke with two leaders who are in charge of reimagining congregations in a post-pandemic world.


  • Mikka McCracken is the executive director of innovation for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 

  • Rabbi Esther Lederman is the Union for Reform Judaism’s director of congregational innovation.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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