Insights After Six Months of Being Reopened

by | Facilities, Leadership, Operations

By Ben Stapley, originally shared on

Christ Fellowship Miami has seven local campuses, eleven global campuses and one online campus. We reopened the local campuses back in October 2020. Because of the investment in surveying our people, consulting with health care professionals and spending a lot of time in prayer, this reopening has been successful. We continue to help more people find and follow Jesus locally, globally and online. The past six months of being reopened has given us seven insights into where our people are at and how we need to continue pivoting. They are below.

Smaller Campuses Had Higher Return Rates

Our largest campus started with 30% of pre-COVID numbers whereas our smaller campus started with 45%. This mirrors what was happening nationally. Smaller churches had higher return rates. Two of the factors accounting for this 15% difference is intimacy and safety. Smaller churches and campuses have higher degrees of intimacy so a greater degree of these guests want to come back. And since these churches and campuses are smaller there is a perception that they will be safer.

Online Initially Took A Dip

There are three main reasons for this. One, Some of the online guests started attending onsite campuses. Two, a number of these guests were also our digital evangelists, so when they stopped attending online they naturally stopped spreading the word about it. Three, online promotion was decreased to make room to increase onsite promotion.

Online Has Grown

Even though online initially took a dip when we reopened, it has steadily grown over the past six months. This has been a pleasant surprise. We, like a lot of other church leaders, were hoping to just maintain our online attendance. But with continued investment and intentionality we have not maintained, but have grown our online campus.  

Weather Still Has An Impact

The virus keeps people away and so too does the weather. We really didn’t anticipate this would be any different. But it was helpful to have it confirmed. You can see in the graph above when the tropical storm hit us in Miami. So regardless of where you live in the country, you will continue to see onsite attendance dip due to inclement weather. Some things never change. 🙂 

Screen Fatigue Is An Excuse

Some church leaders attributed diminishing online attendance and engagement to screen fatigue. But I just watched Zack Snyder’s four hour version of Justice League, so this feels like an excuse to me. My hunch was recently proven accurate by our kids department. At the beginning of the year they studied storytelling principles from the most watched kids programming and applied them to their content. And the engagement since has continued to climb.

Easter Brought Back A Lot Of Regular Attenders

One positive impact of Easter was a lot of regular guests came back to an onsite campus for the first time. We saw plenty of familiar faces across our onsite campuses. When we interacted with these guests afterwards, many of them indicated how they had been nervous about coming back for safety reasons. But the desire to celebrate their resurrected Savior helped them push through those fears.

We Didn’t See The Post Easter Dip

Normally we see low retention the Sunday after Easter. A lot of people get dragged out by family members for the holiday service but don’t come back the next week. Since a lot of the Easter bump was longtime guests coming back for the first time, we didn’t see the usual post Easter slump. They saw that our onsite services were safe, spacious and sanitized firsthand and they decided to start attending regularly.

These are the seven main insights we have gained after being reopened for six months. If your church has reopened, I would love to know the insights you have gained. Feel free to email me at I would love to hear from you and learn from you. Have yourself an awesome day.

Sign Up for Connections, the Worship Facility Newsletter!



Creating lighting for a church involves a blend of practicality, aesthetics, and symbolism to enhance the worship experience and create a spiritually uplifting atmosphere. Here are some steps and considerations for creating effective church lighting. Understand the...

Houses of Worship Light the Night

"Houses of Worship Light the Night" sounds like a beautiful event or initiative where different religious institutions come together to illuminate their buildings or spaces as a symbol of unity, hope, and peace. It could involve lighting up the exteriors with colorful...

Introducing Galileo – Wireless DMX for Fixed Installations

A.C. Lighting Inc., distributor of world-class lighting and rigging technologies, is pleased to showcase LumenRadio’s Galileo. With the increasing demand for dynamic light control in fixed installations, LumenRadio announces the availability of Galileo TX & RX,...

Develop Your Church’s Signature Video Style

Planning is vital to the success of any production. Without a plan, your video likely won’t succeed in conveying your message to your congregation — if it gets produced at all. In the right hands, a camera is an incredibly effective storytelling tool — so it’s...