McGee, “Brand New Theology”

McGee, Paula L.  2016. Brand® New Theology: The Wal-Martization of T.D. Jakes and the New Black Church. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Publisher’s Description: T.D. Jakes is a pastor and entrepreneur who presides over a vast megachurch and business operation. He has turned the gospel into his own successful brand—particularly through product lines such as “Woman Thou Art Loosed.”

According to author Paula McGee, Jakes is representative of a rising phenomenon, the New Black Church, a new form of prosperity gospel that signifies what she calls the “Wal-Martization” of religion. Her ideological critique is a vital tool for all who wish to understand the relation between religion and culture—especially those committed to the transformative power of the Gospel.

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.

Lauterbach, “Religious Entrepreneurs in Ghana”

Lauterbach, Karen.  2015.  Religious Entrepreneurs in Ghana.  In Cultural Entrepreneurship in Africa, Ute Röschenthaler and Dorothea Schulz, eds.  New York: Routledge.

Excerpt: This chapter is concerned with the relationship between entrepreneurship and religion.  It examines the making of Pentecostal churches and pastoral careers as a form of entrepreneurship and discusses what the religious dimension adds to our understanding of how entrepreneurship unfolds in Africa today.  The chapter analyzes in particular how striving for and attaining social and economic aspirations can be fulfilled through a pastoral career in Pentecostal churches in Ghana.  What is remarkable is that young men and women are able to ‘become someone’ in society, achieve status, and accumulate wealth through the making of pastoral careers in a general context where the possibilities for social climbing are constrained.

Gbadamosi, “Exploring the Growing Link of Ethnic Entrepreneurship, Markets, and Pentecostalism”

Gbadamosi, Ayantunji.  2015. Exploring the Growing Link of Ethnic Entrepreneurship, Markets, and Pentecostalism in London (UK): An Empirical study.  Society and Business Review 10(2).

Abstract:

While many issues about the entrepreneurial engagements of African-Caribbean (AC) have been discussed in the literature; there is far less studies documented about the link of these activities to faith, especially in the context of Pentecostalism. Hence, this research unravels how membership of Pentecostal fellowships aids the entrepreneurial activities of AC members.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting the interpretive research paradigm, a total of 25 tape-recorded, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with AC entrepreneurs who are members of Pentecostal faith-based organisations in London, and Pastors in this same sphere. 16 of the respondents are entrepreneurs running and managing their businesses while seven are Pastors, and the remaining two fall in both categories as they are both entrepreneurs and still serving as Pastors in churches in London. Rather than merely serving as gatekeepers for information, the pastors are active participants/respondents in the study.

The paper highlights the challenges confronting the African-Caribbean ethnic entrepreneurs but also suggests that those in the Pentecostal faith are motivated and emboldened by the shared values in this religion to navigate the volatile marketing environment. It unveils participants’ faith in God as their key business survival strategy. It also shows the unwavering confidence of the respondents that this religious stance results in outstanding business successes like increase in sales and profits, competitive edge, divine creativity and innovation, opportunity recognition, networks, institutional support and other factors that underpin entrepreneurship.

This study unpacks the thickly blurred link between Pentecostalism as a thriving religious orientation among the African-Caribbean ethnic group in the UK and their entrepreneurial engagements.