Survey finds nondenominational churches have the least baggage in people’s minds.
Most Americans are open to a variety of denominations of Christian churches, including many people of other faiths or no faith at all.
Americans have a wide range of opinions and impressions about Christian denominations, but most won’t rule out a church based on its denomination, according to a new study from Lifeway Research. From a list of nine denominational terms— Assemblies of God, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, and nondenominational—more Americans rule out Pentecostal than any other denomination. Just over half of Americans (51%) say a church with Pentecostal in the name is not for them.
But for each of the other denominations in the study, most Americans say a specific religious label in the name of a church is not an automatic deterrent for them. Americans are most open to nondenominational and Baptist churches.
One in three (33%) say a church described as nondenominational is not for them, while 43 percent say the same about a church with Baptist in the name. A 2014 phone survey from Lifeway Research also found Baptist and nondenominational churches among those Americans were most open to and Pentecostal the denominational group they were least open to.
“Church names vary greatly,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Names including St. Peter, Trinity, Crossroads, and Presbyterian reflect biblical people, theology, modern imagery, or references to the branch of Christianity the church is tied to. Most people have preexisting impressions of denominational groups when they see them in a church name or description.”
Americans have more favorable than unfavorable impressions of …