There are several social phenomenon’s and social problems that warrant sociological research however, there is one that stands out more in this mind than in any other one. Being a church going individual something that truly needs sociological research are the Mega Churches. What defines a mega church? Its basic description is “a congregation which has two thousand or more worship attendees in a week” (Thumma, 2007, para. 1). The megachurch is an organization unlike any other. In order to fully the megachurch, it must be viewed as a phenomenon rather than incredible growth or outstanding successful spiritual ventures.
After investigating the megachurch there are several common characteristics that appeared. One of these common characteristics is obviously size, which is the most common characteristic; however, the list of traits is much longer. There are three distinctive ways of expressing the megachurch message. They are nontraditional, the conventional, and the composite. Just like all general descriptions of social phenomena, any megachurch will vary in its characteristics. On the other hand, these congregations have too much in common not to be seen as a distinctive social and religious reality.
Megachurches are a new phenomenon. The megachurch is more than a church with a massive attendance. “It is a congregation with a distinctive pattern of organization, programmatic ministries, and membership relations” (Thumma, 2007, para. 5). The rapid growth of this form of congregations has become more and more within the last several decades. Almost all the current megachurches were founded after 1955; however, they mainly came about more around the decade of the eighties. Since Durkheim, sociologists have been interested in the church as a social phenomenon.
Now Mega churches are a growing phenomenon in U. S. ociety. They attract the attention of scholars, religious leaders and journalists. Although most churchgoers in the United States still attend smaller churches, the attention of religious practice into large associations is an issue for sociologists studying religion and organizations. The problem with the megachurch is that there is a social issue there, such as questions like how do such large organizations function and survive? How does one minister, pastor, or reverend, attend to the need of so many people? I would research this social phenomenon by using the scientific method. The only real way to do it.
I identified the problem, which is how do such large organizations function and survive? and how does one minister, pastor, or reverend, attend to the need of so many people? I then formulated the hypothesis of them having several associate pastors, and leaders in the church to help out with different activities and sections of the church. Then, I reviewed different literature on megachurches and how they operate and function. Lastly, I drew the conclusion to the research and found out how they function and hold things together. It turns out that the main or senior minister or pastor is not the only leader of the church.
It turns out that there are large numbers of staff and volunteers. As the church grows, the number of “employees” so to speak grows too. They help coordinate and facilitate through the week and on the weekends. In my research I found out that “megachurches average 20 full-time paid leadership staff positions and 9 part-time positions. These churches also have on average 22 paid full-time and 15 paid part-time administrative or support staff positions” (Thumma, 2007, para. 36). On average there are more than 284 volunteers that put in more than five hours of work a week.
More than 50% of these volunteers put in between 20 to 40 hours a week in service to the church. This therefore, supports my hypothesis that the minister has help in running the megachurch. In conclusion, based upon the research done a megachurch is a social phenomenon. Having so many people who socialize, sociologists have so much to research so that others can understand how things like this work. Through sociological research American society can get a better perspective on how different things go that not everyone is a part of. Therefore, giving sociologists a great demand.
Courtney from Study Moose
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