Fear Not, for I Am with You Again (Socially Distanced): A Qualitative Thematic Analysis of Megachurch Post-covid Lockdown Re-opening Videos on Facebook

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Todd L. WoldSchool of Communication Arts, Asbury University, Wilmore, USA

Search for other papers by Todd L. Wold in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Churches in the United States closed their doors to in-person gatherings during the covid-19 lockdown in March of 2020. As conditions improved, churches began re-opening to indoor worship services, instituting safety measures to comply with cdc guidelines. Churches used social media to promote their re-opening to their congregations. With the goal of evaluating the video messages of churches promoting their re-opening, the study analyzes the content of Facebook videos from non-denominational megachurches between June and October 2020. This qualitative thematic analysis explores how the videos address the threat of covid-19, the risk of attending in-person services, and the efficacy of health and safety measures. The inductive analysis was sensitized by the extended parallel processing model, ritual communication theory, and the concept of security theater. The themes identified have potential implications for future religious and health communication research, especially concerning contentious safety protocols, managing fear and anxiety, liability concerns, livestreaming technology, and more digitally transient congregations.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 159 159 40
Full Text Views 10 10 4
PDF Views & Downloads 27 27 8