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Which U.S. Christians Are Least Familiar with Liturgy?

Evangelicals and non-mainline Protestants are the least familiar with liturgy among U.S. Christian traditions, according to a Barna Group report released on Feb. 13.

Only 19 percent of self-identified evangelicals said they were very familiar with liturgy, just one percentage point above Protestant non-mainline respondents (18 percent).

By comparison, 49 percent of Catholics and 37 percent of Christians affiliated with mainline traditions did so.

Overall, 32 percent of all survey respondents said they were “very familiar” with liturgy, with 30 percent saying “somewhat familiar,” 19 percent “not too familiar” and 19 percent “never heard of it.”

White Christian respondents were most likely to be “very familiar” with liturgy (37 percent), followed by Hispanics (28 percent) and blacks (14 percent).

Forty-one percent of Generation X (born 1965 to 1983) said they were “very familiar,” compared to 34 percent of Millennials (born 1984 to 1999), 31 percent of Elders (born 1945 or earlier) and 26 percent of Boomers (born 1946 to 1964)

Millennials are the most likely generation to change their church affiliation – both moving membership from liturgical congregations and moving to them.

“More than one in five (22 percent) has moved to a liturgical tradition (compared to 16 percent of Gen X, 11 percent of Boomers and 12 percent of Elders), while 44 percent have shifted away from it,” Barna found. “Gen X (40 percent) are close behind in leaving liturgical churches, followed by Boomers (23 percent) and Elders (14 percent).”

The full report is available here.