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    Denomination Name in Church Branding

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    WedMar62013 ByDavid PohlmeierTaggedChurch Communications
    I shared a link on Twitter recently and something about it really stuck with me and I thought it would be helpful to highlight a few items here on our blog. The article asks the question, "Should Protestant churches include or exclude a reference to their denomination in the church name?"

    Church Messages #2

     I think about this all the time when working with churches. I've even suggested not using the word church as it's not needed when using the denomination name. Why call yourself First Baptist Church when you could simply go by First Baptist and I'm assuming everyone would know you are a church? The Baptist in the name clearly identifies that.

    It's interesting to learn what that word Baptist means to individuals.

    Here are my biggest takeaways from the research that was done. Taken directly from the original article by Grey Matter Research.
    • 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, but this also makes them feel more uncertain and wonder whether the church is trying to hide its beliefs.
    • When people see a church with a denominational reference in its name, they are over four times more likely to perceive that church as formal than if it has no such reference.
    • Denominational references are also three times more likely to make people see that church as old-fashioned, and almost three times more likely to make them feel it is structured and rigid
    • Including a denominational reference is more than twice as likely to help people feel the church is honest.
    • Excluding a denominational reference is more than twice as likely to give people feelings of uncertainty, and almost five times more likely to lead to thoughts that the church may be trying to hide what they believe.
    • People who attend a denominational Protestant church believe (by a margin of 33% to 20%) that a church with its denomination in its name would be more welcoming to visitors. But the unchurched, by a very similar margin, have exactly the opposite perception (30% to 19%).
    • People already attending a denominational Protestant church say they’re more likely to consider a church with the denomination in its name (39% to 23%).  But among the unchurched, it’s a split decision, with 24% opting for the denominational name, and 20% preferring a church without a denominational reference.
    • People age 65 and older are especially likely to see non-denominational names as the church trying to hide what they believe (55% to 3%) and as making them feel uncertain (51% to 7%), as well as to see denominational names as welcoming new visitors (38% to 18%) and as a church they might consider visiting (48% to 14%).
    • On the other hand, adults under the age of 35 are much more divided over this issue.  For instance, while they agree with older adults that non-denominational names are more likely to make them feel uncertain, the split is only 34% to 22%, and it’s noteworthy that 22% say a denominational reference is what would be more likely to make them feel more uncertain.  Younger adults are also more likely to see non-denominational names as welcoming to new visitors (36%, versus 27% who say this about denominational names), as a church for people like them (27% to 18%), or as one they might consider visiting (27% to 19%).
    I know that I'll refer back to this study when helping brand a church and I hope churches take this study into consideration.

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