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Churches feel impact of Covid-19 pandemic

Some churches in Bulawayo might not be able to resume normal operations and attract full attendance due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This came out in a report published by Ignite titled, ‘Bulawayo Citywide baseline on Christians’ perceptions and the status of the church’.

Ignite is a regional organisation in Southern Africa committed to the strategic transformation of society through biblical principles.

The objectives of the research was to  collect and  analyse information relating to spiritual perceptions and conditions of  Christians in  Bulawayo as measures to inform both  Ignite and the body of  Christ in planning and implementing activities that respond to the citywide needs of  Christians.

Churches were forced to shutdown as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.  

Some of the churches resorted to online platforms such as Facebook and Zoom to hold online services.  

“The pandemic had adversely affected the program of the church, attendance had improved since October , however, many of the church leaders highlighted that it will take some time for the church to be back on its feet regarding church attendance and congregation activities,” read the report.

“The survey proved that the number of church attendance was drastically decreased as a result of Covid-19 but for many other people this has been a period of introspection to assess the relevance of the church to their lives. It is sad to note that a number of Christians might not go back to the church after this pandemic.”

Ignite recommended that members can be used to evangelise and encourage others on the importance of fellowship.

Meanwhile, the research carried out by Ignite also revealed that church leaders are not accessible to the people.

“Respondents on the ground echoed that the majority of the leaders were not accessible unless, it was someone whom they could benefit from. It is understandable that the pastors/ leaders of today have an enormous weight over their shoulders, however by nature of design from the creator. The church is supposed to operate on an open-door policy, allowing people to have access to the ministers/pastors,” read the report.

The report indicated that during the baseline exercise, Ignite struggled to get access to the some church leaders, many reasons were cited including many wanting to know who is behind Ignite.

“Of the churches interviewed in the City, 80 percent of them were not accessible, with many of them exhibiting very bureaucratic practices that are common in government establishments. At the same time, Institutionalism is rife with more churches perceived to be obsessed with their own survival and maintenance on the institutional aspects of the church instead of the welfare of the people,” read the report.

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