More than a million people are being reached every month by Christian churches on social media, figures published by the Church of England (CofE) have suggested.
A year after the CofE adopted a new digital approach, with videos, podcasts, blogs and images, including prayers, across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin, these messages are reaching an online audience of 1.2 million a month.
During Christmas 2016, some 1.5 million people were reached through the Church’s #JoyToTheWorld campaign featuring short films. A further 2.5 million were reached during Lent, the season before Easter, through the #LiveLent project.
However, according to the CofE’s Mission Statistics, the average Sunday attendance has fallen. In October 2016, attendees at CofE services stood at 780,000, down on 2015, although those who attend once a month or more stood higher, at 1.1 million people; only 20 per cent of these were under 18 years old.
However, Christmas attendance — on Christmas Eve and Christmas day — rose by 1.4 per cent in 2016 to 2.6 million. During Advent, the season before Christmas, 2.5 million people attended special services for the congregation and local community, and 2.8 million people attended special services for civic organisations and schools.