While many churches remain closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, online engagement is increasing at an exponential rate.
Churches and online ministries are finding that people are hungry for faith amid fear and an unknown future.
"I think we have an opportunity, actually, to engage at a deeper level," Judah Smith, lead pastor of Churchome in Seattle and Los Angeles, told Fox News. "We're finding that actually being home, engaging face-to-face is going to lead us actually to an interesting place in faith and I think will change how we worship going forward."
Smith's Churchome app, which accepts anyone into the church who simply logs in, has grown by 110 percent. Attendance is up 139 percent, and "Pastor Chat" usage has increased by 40 percent.
"This is an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and learn to love your neighbor as yourself," Smith said. "I think church at home and church in smaller settings is going to be a massive trend going for many, many years."
Global Media Outreach (GMO), a digital ministry that specializes in online evangelism, has reached close to 2 billion people worldwide since it was founded in 2004.
“We're not going out and asking people, ‘Do you want to know about Jesus?’” John Thompson, GMO director, told the Christian Post. “People are coming to us saying, 'I need hope. Where can I find hope in the face of tragedy, anxiety, bankruptcy, whatever?' When people are in pain, we offer encouragement and hope. They’re coming to us, looking for answers, and so we get great receptivity.”
The unique online ministry has 3,500 online volunteers who answer questions in 50 different languages. They pray for new believers and help guide them on their spiritual journey. Other churches have told Fox News they've seen more online viewers -- going from thousands to hundreds of thousands and even millions since the coronavirus outbreak.
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