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Pastor practices in the era of megachurches: New organizational practices and forms for a changing institutional environment

Religion and Organization Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78190-692-7, eISBN: 978-1-78190-693-4

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 16 April 2014

Abstract

Megachurches represent an interesting empirical and conceptual phenomenon. Empirically, megachurches (Protestant churches with average weekly attendance of greater than 2,000 members) are growing at a time when overall church participation in the United States is steady or declining. Conceptually, megachurch pastors can be viewed as institutional leaders who attempt to reconcile new technologies and large congregations within a highly institutionalized setting. While many of these megachurches have a denominational affiliation, some do not. In this essay, we describe the literature on megachurches and offer observations about the megachurch as an institution. Drawing from preliminary analysis of a sample of over 1,400 megachurches (identified from the Hartford Institute for Religious Research), we also draw tentative conclusions about the characteristics of the pastors of megachurches, and one growing institutional maintenance practice: writing texts. We propose that examining megachurches can help extend the current research on institutional leadership, institutional work, and institutional support mechanisms.

Keywords

Citation

Washington, M., Van Buren, H.J. and Patterson, K. (2014), "Pastor practices in the era of megachurches: New organizational practices and forms for a changing institutional environment", Religion and Organization Theory (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 41), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 187-213. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20140000041014

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited