This project is the first comprehensive, comparative, and empirical study of huge megachurches in the global south, with congregations of over 15,000 members each. It will focus on 17 churches in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Korea. It will discover why and how these churches have become so large, who attends these churches and why, how these churches differentiate themselves organizationally, theologically, and spiritually, and how they shape and are shaped by the world around them. In answering these questions, it will pay particular attention to the larger themes of modernization, Christianization, and secularization. These questions will be answered through historical research, a common survey instrument administered in each investigated church, extensive participant observation and interviewing in each church, and a final symposium where research will be consolidated, compared, and publicly shared. The project will result in an anthology, a synthetic monograph, six regional monographs, several peer reviewed journal articles, numerous popular articles, web-based video interviews, conference papers, public lectures, and a publicly disseminated documentary film. This project will enhance the study of rapidly growing global south Christianity, reveal how megachurches both borrow from the culture of globalization and resist it with local variations, and suggest what megachurches can teach us about the future of global Christianity in relationship to secularization.
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