The Church of England now reaches more people on social media than in services, new figures reveal.
The statistics suggest the church has now reached a tipping point where more people follow its online accounts than attend church services.
Around 1.1m attend services at least once a month, while the church estimates 1.2m people are “reached” every month via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
The figures showed that the decline in regular church attendance continued in 2016, with average Sunday attendance reaching a new low of 780,000 people.
Over the same period the Church has tripled its followers on both Facebook and Instagram.
But the Church admitted it was struggling to convert a large digital audience to physical attendance at services.
William Nye, secretary general to the General Synod, said the figures were a “sobering reminder” of the challenge faces by the church.
He said that while the internet was an area of growth, “our challenge is to join up that growing online Church life to the physical community of Church that forms the body of Christ.”
SOURCE: Olivia Rudgard