Lifeway Report: Church small groups in decline

by ian


Recent research warns that church goers are less likely to get plugged in with fellow believers in a post-pandemic world.

Lifeway Research has found that church growth through small groups has declined significantly in recent years. In 2010, about 50% of churchgoers were plugged into a small group. In 2022, that percentage dropped to 44%. 

The survey credited COVID-19 with the change. Data shows that many people have not returned to their normal routines and have become less social overall since the pandemic. 

While churches still reported membership growth and changed lives, the decline presents a challenge to pastors.

Groups are instrumental for church members in building relationships and encouraging deeper Bible study. 

Lifeway Research Director Scott McConnell called them the relational glue for congregations. He said they “unify a congregation and motivate people to work together” to share the gospel.

Previous research has shown that people who regularly attend groups are more likely to share their faith and invite people to church.