Social distance impact on church gatherings: Socio-behavioral implications

Adebola Adegboyega, Stephanie Boddie, Hope Dorvie, Bolanle Bolaji, Christson Adedoyin, Sharon E. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This article provides an in-depth discussion of social distancing and its socio-behavioral implications on church gatherings in the era of COVID-19. We posit that social distancing has redefined, reshaped, and reconfigured Christian religious gatherings in a way that was hitherto unimagined. The unintended consequences (positive and negative) indicate that social distancing has impacted church gatherings in some positive ways such as reducing the spread of COVID-19 among congregants, and enabling technological innovations for virtual Church services and programs. Conversely, social distancing has negatively impacted the social cohesion and overall social capital value of churches, and imprinted a long lasting disruptions to age-long ecclesiological identities, denominational practices, and liturgies of contemporary churches. We utilized Game Theory as the theoretical scaffold of our propositions. In addition we delineated the implications of social distancing on Christian religious gathering during pandemics such as COVID-19 and lessons from a socio-behavioral perspective for religious institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-234
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • COVID-19
  • church gatherings
  • congregations
  • game theory
  • social distancing
  • virtual meetings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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