Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)
digital church growth, online church growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, online church growth, church online studies, social media church growth, online church growth methods, digital church growth methods, growing the church using digital tools, growing the church using digital and online platforms
Educational Leadership | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Cole, Nicholas D., "A Phenomenological Study of Church Growth Strategies Used by Pastors of Digital Churches during the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4499.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the digital church growth methods that pastors of digital churches in the United States used to increase church attendance during the 2020-2022 COVID-19 pandemic. For the purpose of this study, pastors of digital/online churches were studied. Since the 1950s, the church growth strategy for many Christian churches has been to attract as many people as possible for in-person worship services. However, in-person church attendance has declined consistently for the past 20 years. The shutdowns of churches worldwide during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic amplified this trend. The only option available to attend church and connect with other people of faith during the pandemic was through digital and social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Although life has shifted globally to the post-COVID-19 era, in-person church attendance has remained relatively low. Adding a digital strategy can be a resourceful option to help increase church growth in attendance, financially, and in discipleship. After all, there are nearly eight billion people worldwide; according to research, more than four billion are on social media and digital platforms for up to four hours a day, seven days a week.