facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Megachurches effective for members

Aug. 29, 2012 at 11:10 AM   |   Comments

SEATTLE, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Charismatic leadership and an upbeat, unchallenging vision of Christianity provide megachurches with a powerful religious experience, U.S. researchers say.

"Our study shows that -- contrary to public opinion that tends to pass off the mega church movement as consumerist religion -- megachurches are doing a pretty effective job for their members," James Wellman, associate professor at the University of Washington, said in a statement.

Wellman and study co-authors Katie E. Corcoran and Kate Stockly-Meyerdirk, University of Washington graduate students, analyzed 2008 data provided by the Leadership Network on 12 nationally representative U.S. megachurches -- 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys.

Four themes emerged: Salvation/spirituality, acceptance/belonging, admiration for and guidance from the leader and morality and purpose through service, the researchers said.

Megachurches, or churches with 2,000 or more congregants, are beginning to dominate the U.S. religious landscape -- more than half of all U.S. churchgoers now attend the largest 10 percent of churches, the researchers said.

The services feature a come-as-you-are atmosphere, rock music and what Wellman calls a "multisensory melange" of visuals and other elements to stimulate the senses, as well as small-group participation and a shared focus on the message from a charismatic pastor, Wellman said.

"We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches," Wellman said. "That's why we say it's like a drug."

Wellman presented "'God is Like a Drug:' Explaining Interaction Ritual Chains in American Mega Churches," at the 107th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Researchers isolate target for therapies to treat cocaine addiction Researchers isolate target for therapies to treat cocaine addiction
2
Colorado researchers working on Ebola vaccine for military Colorado researchers working on Ebola vaccine for military
3
Morning exercise helps calm ADHD symptoms in children Morning exercise helps calm ADHD symptoms in children
4
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95 Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
5
Michelle Obama made a 'Turn Down for What' Vine inspired by turnips Michelle Obama made a 'Turn Down for What' Vine inspired by turnips
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback