This chapter introduces the twenty-one congregations surveyed here, placing them within four major types of American Assemblies of God (AG) congregations: traditional, evangelical AG, renewalist, and alternative. A four-fold typology was developed as a framework for selecting the congregations to be surveyed, as well as a means to present the profiles of the congregations developed through observation, interviews with pastors, historical accounts, and select survey questions. The profiles are a heuristic device that illustrates the similarities and differences among congregations included in the study. The chapter also highlights the dynamic nature of congregations that cannot be captured through a one-time survey. In addition, the congregational profiles provide a panoramic and dynamic backdrop for the survey findings presented in subsequent chapters.
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