Jennings, “Great Risk for the Kingdom”

Jennings, Mark Alan Charles.  2017. Great Risk for the Kingdom: Pentecostal-Charismatic Growth Churches, Pastorpreneurs, and Neoliberalism.  In, Multiculturalism and the Convergence of Faith and Practical Wisdom in Modern Society, Ana-Maria Pascal, ed.  Pp. 236-249.

Abstract: Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity (“PCC”) has successfully navigated the challenges modernity poses to religion, growing rapidly in the twentieth century. Toward the end of the twentieth century, however, neoliberalism began its ascent to its current hegemonic status. Neoliberalism reconfigures social institutions as marketized practices with a measurable ‘payoff’. PCC adapted to this challenge in the form of a “growth churches,” adopting many of the characteristics of neoliberalism. In adopting a homogenous model and method of ‘best practice’ in order to facilitate growth; offering a ‘prosperity’ theology that fits well with the development of human capital; and endorsing the universalization of risk through modelling “pastorpreneur” leadership, it is argued in this chapter that growth churches are a paradigmatic example of a late modern religious phenomenon accommodating neoliberalism in a largely uncritical manner. The chapter concludes with some observations that critique this association between neoliberalism and growth churches.

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