Advertisement

Black Mega-Churches in the Internet Age: Exploring Theological Teachings and Social Outreach Efforts

  • Pamela P. MartinEmail author
  • Tuere A. Bowles
  • LaTrese Adkins
  • Monica T. Leach
Articles

Abstract

The research on Black mega-churches has been limited at best. To date, little is known about theological teachings of Black mega-churches. Other primary characteristics of Black mega-churches are even less understood, e.g., how these institutions promote their theological teachings online. Consequently, in this study, Black mega-church websites constitute a data source for examining links between theological teachings and community needs. Specifically, this qualitative study of Internet-mediated research examines the websites of 12 Black mega-churches via content analyses of sermons and information regarding various outreach programs found on their web pages. Results indicate four broad theological themes: honoring the Holy Spirit, heavenly minded, Biblical principles, and social legacy. The findings reveal that these themes were related to the social outreach efforts of the 12 Black mega-churches. Research implications for future studies of Black mega-churches are discussed.

Keywords

African Americans Mega-churches Theology Social outreach efforts 

References

  1. Andrews, D. P. (2002). Practical theology for Black churches: Bridging Black theology and African American folk religion. Louisville: Westminster John Know.Google Scholar
  2. Argyris, C., & Schön, D. (1974). Theory in practice: Increasing professional effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. Berg, B. L. (2007). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  4. Billingsley, A. (1999). Mighty like a river: the Black church and social reform. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Billingsley, A., & Caldwell, C. H. (1994). The church, the family, and the school in the African American community. Journal of Negro Education, 60(3), 427–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Billingsley, A., & Morrison-Rodriguez, B. (2007). The Black family in the twenty-first century and the church as an action system: A macro perspective. Human behavior in the social environment from an African-American perspective (2nd ed., pp. 57–74). New York: Haworth.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, R. (2006). Racial differences in congregation-based political activism. Social Forces, 84(3), 1581–1604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, R., & Brown, R. (2003). Faith and works: church-based social capital resources and African American political activism. Social Forces, 82(2), 617–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, D. R., & Gary, L. E. (1991). Religious socialization and educational attainment among African Americans: Empirical assessment. Journal of Negro Education, 60(3), 411–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Calhoun-Brown, A. (1998). While marching to Zion: other-worldliness and racial empowerment in the Black community. Journal of Scientific Study of Religion, 37(3), 427–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chatters, L., Taylor, R., Lincoln, K., & Schroepfer, T. (2002). Patterns of informal support from family and church members among African Americans. Journal of Black Studies, 33(1), 66–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cone, J. H. (1997). Black theology & Black power. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
  13. Dallam, M. W. (2007). Daddy Grace: A celebrity preacher and his House of Prayer. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2008). Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Elligson, S. (2009). The rise of the mega-churches and changes in religious culture: review article. Sociology Compass, 3(1), 16–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ellison, C. G. (1997). Religious involvement and the subjective quality of family life among African Americans. In R. T. Taylor, J. S. Jackson, & L. M. Chatters (Eds.), Family life in Black America (pp. 117–131). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Gilkes, C. T. (1998). Plenty good room: Adaptation in a changing black church. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 588, 101–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goh, R. B. H. (2008). Hilsong and “megachurch” practice: semiotics spatial logic and the embodiment of contemporary evangelical Protestantism. Material Religion, 4(3), 284–304.Google Scholar
  19. Hall-Russell, C. (2005). The African American megachurch: giving and receiving. New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising, 48, 21–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harris-Lacewell, M. V. (2007). Righteous politics: the role of the Black church in contemporary politics. Cross Currents, 50(2), 80–196.Google Scholar
  21. Hesse-Biber, S. N., & Leavy, P. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of emergent methods. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  22. Hinton. M. A. (2007). The visible institution theology and religious education in two Black mega church ministries. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database. (304873863). http://search.proquest.com.www.lib.ncsu.edu:2048/docview/304873863?accountid=12725
  23. Hopkins, D. (1998). Black theology on theological education. Theological Education, 34(2), 73–84.Google Scholar
  24. Johnson, S. (2010). The Black church. In P. Goff (Ed.), Blackwell companion to religion in America (pp. 446–467). London: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. June, L. (2008). Yet with a steady beat: The Black church through a psychological and biblical lens. Chicago: Moody Publishers.Google Scholar
  26. Krause, N. (2010). The social milieu of the church and religious coping responses: a longitudinal investigation of older Whites and older Blacks. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 20(2), 109–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kunjufu, J. (1994). Adam! Where are are you? Why most Black men don’t go to church. Chicago: African American Images.Google Scholar
  28. Lee, S. (2005). T.D. Jakes: America’s new preacher. New York: NYU.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, S. (2007). Prosperity theology: T. D. Jakes and the gospel of the almighty dollar. Cross Currents, 57(2), 227–236.Google Scholar
  30. Lewis, K., & Lambert, M. (2006). Measuring social change preferences in African American adolescents: development of the Measure of Social Change for Adolescents (MOSC-A). Assessment, 13(4), 406–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lewis, C. E. Jr., & Trulear, H. D. (2008). Rethinking the role of African American churches as social service providers. Black Theology: An International Journal, 6(3), 343–365.Google Scholar
  32. Lincoln, C. E. (1999). Race, religion, & the continuing American dilemma. New York: Hill & Wayne.Google Scholar
  33. Lincoln, E. C., & Mamiya, L. H. (1990). The Black church in the African American experience. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Mattis, J. S., & Jagers, R. J. (2001). A relational framework for the study of religiosity and spirituality in the lives of African Americans. Journal of Community Psychology, 29(5), 519–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mattis, J. S., Fontenot, D. L., & Hatcher-Kay, C. A. (2003). Religiosity, racism, and dispositional optimism among African Americans. Personality and Individual Differences, 34(6), 1025–1038.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mattis, J., Mitchell, N., Zapata, A., Grayman, N., Taylor, R., Chatters, L., et al. (2007). Uses of ministerial support by African Americans: a focus group study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(2), 249–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McAdoo, H. P. (1995). Stress levels, family help patterns, & religiosity in middle-and working-class single African American single mothers. Journal of Black Psychology, 21(4), 424–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McRoberts, O. (1999). Understanding the “New” Black Pentecostal activism: lessons from Ecumenical Urban Ministries in Boston. Sociology of Religion, 60(1), 47–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pargament, K. I., & Maton, K. I. (2000). Religion in American life: A community psychology perspective. In J. Rappaport & E. Seidman (Eds.), Handbook of community psychology (pp. 495–522). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  40. Patterson, C. E. (2007). Give us this day our daily bread: The African American megachurch and Prosperity Theology. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database. (30487606) http://search.proquest.com.www.lib.ncsu.edu:2048/docview/304876065?accountid=12725
  41. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  42. Pinn, A. (2002). The Black church in the Post-Civil Rights Era. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
  43. Priest, R. J., Wilson, D., & Johnson, A. (2010). U.S. mega-churches and new patterns of global mission. International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 34(2), 97–104.Google Scholar
  44. Reese, L., Brown, R., & Ivers, J. (2007). Some children see him…: political participation and the Black Christ. Political Behavior, 29(4), 517–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schwandt, T. A. (2007). The Sage dictionary of qualitative inquiry (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  46. Singleton, H. H. (2002). Black theology and ideology: Deideological dimensions in the theology of James H. Cone. Collegeville: Liturgical.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, V. E. (2006). Where do we go from here? The Crisis, 31–35.Google Scholar
  48. Taylor, C. (2002). Black religious intellectuals. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Taylor, R., Chatters, L., & Levin, J. (2004). Religion in the lives of African Americans: Social, psychological, and health perspectives. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Turner, W. (2006). The United Holy Church of America: A study in Black Holiness-Pentecostalism. Piscataway: Gorgias.Google Scholar
  51. Twitchell, J. B. (2007). Shopping for God: How Christianity went from in your heart to in your face. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  52. Warf, B., & Winsberg, M. (2010). Geographies of mega-churches in the United States. Journal of Cultural Geography, 27(1), 33–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. West, C., & Glaude, E. S. (2003). African American religious thought. Louisville: Westminister John Knox.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela P. Martin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tuere A. Bowles
    • 2
  • LaTrese Adkins
    • 3
  • Monica T. Leach
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher EducationNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Beloved Community Consulting GroupDallasUSA
  4. 4.Social WorkNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations