More Americans showed less preference towards Pentecostal churches compared to nine other denominations which include Assemblies of God, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, and nondenominational churches.
According to the new research published by Lifeway Research, 51% of Americans said that "a church with the word Pentecostal in its name was not for them." Hence, most Americans thought that a specific religious label in the name of a church didn't equate to drawbacks for them in each of the other faiths studied.
People Favor Nondenominational And Baptist Churches
Respondents were more open to Nondenominational and Baptist churches, showing 33% of respondents said a church that has "nondenominational was not for them," while 43% of them perceived the same notion with Baptist churches.
Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell told Christianity Today that name churches such as "St. Peter, Trinity, Crossroads, and Presbyterian reflected biblical people, theology, modern imagery, or references to the branch of Christianity the church is tied to." He said most people based their assumptions on denominational groups according to their church name and description.
The research showed that 61% of Americans favored Baptist churches more than any other Christian denomination. Most denominations held a positive image among Americans, regardless of whether people would personally visit a church or not, except for Pentecostal and Assemblies of God churches. People showed unfavorable impressions of Pentecostal (47%) and Assemblies of God (43%) churches.
The majority of Protestants were willing to attend nondenominational churches, showing a low percentage of respondents who were not likely to consider the faith group. They also showed a large percentage favoring the Baptist churches (76%) and nondenominational (69%) churches.
Infrequent churchgoers were also open to attending nondenominational churches, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches. However, they were also the group that showed less familiarity with Protestant faith groups.
People's Familiarity And Impressions To Faith Groups
For each denominational group surveyed, 11 percent to 32 percent of Americans did not have enough knowledge to form an opinion. The research suggested that many people were unaware of the denominational distinctions rather than imposing negative impressions.
Just like in the case of Assemblies of God, many people showed less familiarity with the denomination rather than leaving a negative impression on it. In comparison with Catholic churches, 11% of respondents said they were unfamiliar with the church group, while 32% of respondents said the same with the study's smallest denomination. While over one-tenth of Americans (11%) are unfamiliar with Catholic churches, nearly one-third of Americans (32%) are unfamiliar with Assemblies of God churches, the study's smallest denomination.
McConnell further explained that denominational groups' reputations might be tied to people's familiarity or knowledge but also depend on people's impressions of local churches. Largely, personal experiences of people with local churches, word-of-mouth, and the church's participation to help the community would contribute to the impressions of people in those groups.
He concluded that many Christians were unfamiliar with different Christian church denominations, most especially people who only identified themselves as Christians but do not practice the faith and do not show interest in learning about historical or doctrinal differences between Christian groups.