Friday, February 22, 2013

Denominational identification

Is it more important to be considered "open-minded" or to be considered "honest"? Christianity Today reports on a survey of both churched and un-churched people asking "Should Your Church's Name Include Its Denomination?" From the findings:
"When a church does not reference its denomination in the church name, unchurched people tend to see that church as less formal, rigid, and old-fashioned," notes the Phoenix-based market research firm in a news release. "But this also makes them feel more uncertain and wonder whether the church is trying to hide its beliefs."

The most interesting findings:

1) Churches with denominational references (vs. none) in their name are:
Four times more likely to be perceived as "formal." Three times more likely to be perceived as "old-fashioned." Almost three times more likely to be perceived as "structured and rigid." Three times less likely to be perceived as "open-minded."
2) By contrast, churches with no denominational references in their name are:
Less than twice as likely to be perceived as "honest." More than twice as likely to give people "feelings of uncertainty." Almost five times more likely to be perceived as "trying to hide what they believe." ....
...Sellers suggested that a church with a denominational reference can have a contemporary and friendly logo and sign to help deal with any perceptions that it’s rigid, while a church without the denomination in its name might use a catchy tagline to communicate something about its beliefs, to help overcome any uncertainty people may feel. He said, “There are ways of dealing with these perceptual issues as long as you know what they are.” ....

.... “There is some belief out there that the unchurched run away from anything that says ‘Baptist’ or ‘Lutheran’ or some other denomination, but the fact is only a minority of the unchurched have negative perceptions about denominational names in general. .... Even younger adults often are not coming down strongly on one side or the other. Churches need to take a lot of different things into consideration in this decision – it’s not as simple as ‘Give it a non-denominational name and it will be a lot more attractive to young people and the unchurched.’" [more]
The image came from this site.

Christianity Today Gleanings: Should Your Church's Name Include Its Denomination?
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