The pandemic was a crucible that revealed underlying political and personal anxieties, as well as congregational strengths and weaknesses in many churches. COVID-19 stripped away the familiar and became The Great Revealer for church leaders.

Consequently, it enabled leaders to learn important lessons about their churches, themselves, and their ministries. While this theme only appeared in three responses to our initial quantitative survey, it repeatedly surfaced again and again in our qualitative work in focus groups, in interviews, in community case studies.

Ultimately, in the eyes of many pastoral leaders the pandemic did not manufacture new problems out of thin air. Instead, like a massive weight placed on a structurally unsound building or bridge, COVID revealed already existing cracks and flaws in American churches. Examinations of engineering disasters—collapsed buildings or bridges—usually uncover a series of mistakes and errors, compounded by decades of neglect, and a system of underlying problems that were repeatedly overlooked or explained away. The same is true in many American churches.

Based on Chapter 3 of the report, in this episode host Aaron Hill (editor of ChurchSalary) sits down with two researchers from the Arbor Research Group, S. Michael Greene and Terry Linhart, to talk about the common experience of COVID-19 as a Great Revealer. Featuring two in-depth interviews with Dr. Lorenzo Neal and Benjamin Marsh, pastors who experienced firsthand revelations about both themselves and their churches during the pandemic.

Hosted by Aaron Hill, editor of ChurchSalary

"COVID and the Church" is produced in conjunction with the Arbor Research Group and funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., through a grant from the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders (ECFPL) initiative.

Executive produced by Aaron Hill, Terry Linhart, and Matt Stevens

Director for CT Media is Matt Stevens