According to a recent analysis of Assemblies of God congregations, more than two thirds of AG churches use a denominational identifier in their church name, such as “Assembly of God,” “Assembly,” “AG” or “Assemblies.” However, the rate of churches not including an AG identifier in their church name is increasing. This is one example of a trend the National Association of Evangelicals is hearing about across denominations.
The NAE, which includes 40 denominations, polled its members on whether their churches use a denominational affiliation in signs or other publications. Of the members who responded, 63 percent said their churches do not list their affiliation, while 37 percent do. The survey did not ask members whether they attend a nondenominational church or why their church does or does not include the denominational affiliation.
In 2013, Grey Matter Research and Consulting released its findings of perceptions people have of denominational identifiers in church names. When a church doesn’t reference its denomination in the name, unchurched people see the congregation as less old-fashioned, but it also makes potential churchgoers wonder whether the church is trying to hide its beliefs. The study also found that only 20 percent of unchurched people have negative perceptions about denominational names in general.
For Further Reading
“Should Protestant Churches Include or Exclude a Reference to Their Denomination in the Church Name? There’s Risk Either Way …” Grey Matter Research and Consulting (Feb. 21, 2013), http://www.greymatterresearch.com/index_files/Church_Names.htm
“What’s in a Name? Church Names and Public Perceptions” Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today (April 2, 2013), http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/april/whats-in-name-church-names-and-public-perception.html
“What’s in a Name?” John W. Kennedy, Pentecostal Evangel (Jan. 12, 2014)