The Renewalists report cover

What Is a Pentecostal or Charismatic Evangelical?

If you know the Christian world, the definition of a Pentecostal or Charismatic evangelical might seem obvious – but it’s not. That definition is actually much harder than you might think.

Grey Matter Research and Infinity Concepts teamed up to study over 1,000 evangelical Protestants. A significant portion of the evangelical world (36%, by our calculations) is Pentecostal or charismatic.  Yet there really is no pervasive definition of just what this means.

No Clear Definition

To make things even more confusing, the various elements of Pentecostal or Charismatic Christianity are fragmented:

  • There are evangelicals attending a clearly Pentecostal or charismatic church, but who decline to call themselves “Pentecostal” or “charismatic,” and have never spoken in tongues
  • Others have spoken in tongues, but attend a church that is not part of the Pentecostal tradition and don’t use those terms to describe themselves
  • Still others self-identify as Pentecostal or charismatic, but don’t attend a church with these beliefs and have never spoken in tongues

Confusing, Isn’t It?

We Try to Bring Some Clarity

In our new report The Renewalists: Pentecostal and Charismatic Evangelicals, we examine this population in-depth. The report weighs various ways of defining them, along with how they differ from other evangelical Protestants.

(For a free copy of The Renewalists, simply e-mail

Just some of what we cover in the report:

  • Why terms such as “Pentecostal,” “charismatic,” and especially “spirit-filled” may actually cause more confusion than clarity.
  • 36% of evangelicals qualify as Renewalist by any one of the three definitions (self-identification, church choice, or having spoken in tongues).  But only 8% qualify with all three.  This shows just how fragmented and indistinct the Renewalist world can be.
  • Renewalists tend to be significantly more spiritually engaged than other evangelicals.  They read the Bible, attend church, and use Christian media more.
  • Their tendency for stronger spiritual engagement does not translate into stronger church/charitable giving.  In fact, Renewalists tend to be less generous than other evangelicals.
  • Renewalist churches may face special challenges in the coming years (we’ll explain why).

Discover more about Pentecostal and charismatic evangelicals in The Renewalists. Just e-mail your request to  We’ll be happy to send you the free report (and not bombard you with sales efforts).

How Can We Help You?

Take a moment to think about how research like this can address the questions you have about the people your organization wants to reach. Grey Matter has served scores of parachurch ministries, denominations, and individual churches, from tiny to massive.

What do you need to know that will help you make more effective decisions? We can help you with that.


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