The COVID-19 pandemic officially ended on May 11th, 2023. While it lasted only three years, the pandemic impacted almost every institution in America. Research studies have examined the impact of COVID-19 on economics, housing, and secular employment.

But how did COVID-19 impact the American church?

To answer this question, Church Salary (a ministry of Christianity Today) partnered with the Arbor Research Group (with the help of a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment) to conduct a year-long study of over a thousand pastors and church leaders from across the country. During the course of our research in 2022, we encountered thousands of hurting and wounded pastors and lay leaders who desperately needed to share their distinct stories—some tinged with hope, some filled with heartbreak and pain.

This podcast, COVID and the Church, will explore the results of this landmark study published online in a 111-page report. Read the full report, for free, by visiting

In this first episode, host Aaron Hill (editor of ChurchSalary) sits down with two of the key architects of this study from the Arbor Research Group, Terry Linhart and Jon Swanson, to unpack what actually happened to the church during the COVID-19 pandemic. Why talk about this now? And what nine themes or common experiences did every single pastor and congregation in the US navigate during the pandemic?

Hosted by Aaron Hill, editor of ChurchSalary

"COVID and the Church" is produced in conjunction with the Arbor Research Group and funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., through a grant from the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders (ECFPL) initiative.

Executive produced by Aaron Hill, Terry Linhart, and Matt Stevens

Director for CT Media is Matt Stevens

Audio Engineering, Editor, and Composer is Tyler Bradford Wright

Artwork by Ryan Johnson