Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/193967
Title:
Small Groups in Big Churches
Author:
Martin, Nancy J.
Issue Date:
2007
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation advances our understanding of the structure of social relations between small groups and the larger organizations within which such groups are situated. Specifically, I examine structures of leadership and authority to gain an in-depth understanding of group organization in one nondenominational and one Southern Baptist megachurch. Methods include in-depth interviews with church clergy, staff, and group leaders; participant observation in groups and other church activities; and a written survey for group leaders. Using this combination of methods, I investigate how small groups are structured in terms of their connections to the megachurches within which they reside. I examine the extent to which the church staff provides oversight and exerts control over groups, and I connect variation on this dimension to how groups relate to their members and to the outside world.My findings include, first, that market metaphors permeate the organization of groups in these two megachurch organizations. The diffusion of ideas and practices from other institutional realms is notable in these two sites, and this may be true for megachurches more generally. Second, I argue that understanding strictness in religious groups is at least as much about the structure of relations between church leadership and membership as it is about beliefs. Third, small groups in megachurches look very much like small groups in American religion more generally, and church oversight may not make much difference in solving problems in small groups identified in previous research. Finally, I find that the level of oversight and control exerted by church leadership on the organization of groups may have a critical influence on the function of groups. Loose and tight connections appear to encourage a more outward and inward focus, respectively.Sociologists studying religious strictness or small groups in any setting should pay particular attention to the structure of relations connecting groups to the larger organizations within which they reside. Religious leaders interested in organizing groups of members should understand that the structure they create to connect with group leaders is at least as important as beliefs they teach leaders, in terms of influencing the focus of the groups.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Religion; Megachurches; Small Groups; Social Control; Organizations; Strictness
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Sociology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Chaves, Mark; Breiger, Ronald
Committee Chair:
Chaves, Mark; Breiger, Ronald

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleSmall Groups in Big Churchesen_US
dc.creatorMartin, Nancy J.en_US
dc.contributor.authorMartin, Nancy J.en_US
dc.date.issued2007en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation advances our understanding of the structure of social relations between small groups and the larger organizations within which such groups are situated. Specifically, I examine structures of leadership and authority to gain an in-depth understanding of group organization in one nondenominational and one Southern Baptist megachurch. Methods include in-depth interviews with church clergy, staff, and group leaders; participant observation in groups and other church activities; and a written survey for group leaders. Using this combination of methods, I investigate how small groups are structured in terms of their connections to the megachurches within which they reside. I examine the extent to which the church staff provides oversight and exerts control over groups, and I connect variation on this dimension to how groups relate to their members and to the outside world.My findings include, first, that market metaphors permeate the organization of groups in these two megachurch organizations. The diffusion of ideas and practices from other institutional realms is notable in these two sites, and this may be true for megachurches more generally. Second, I argue that understanding strictness in religious groups is at least as much about the structure of relations between church leadership and membership as it is about beliefs. Third, small groups in megachurches look very much like small groups in American religion more generally, and church oversight may not make much difference in solving problems in small groups identified in previous research. Finally, I find that the level of oversight and control exerted by church leadership on the organization of groups may have a critical influence on the function of groups. Loose and tight connections appear to encourage a more outward and inward focus, respectively.Sociologists studying religious strictness or small groups in any setting should pay particular attention to the structure of relations connecting groups to the larger organizations within which they reside. Religious leaders interested in organizing groups of members should understand that the structure they create to connect with group leaders is at least as important as beliefs they teach leaders, in terms of influencing the focus of the groups.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectReligionen_US
dc.subjectMegachurchesen_US
dc.subjectSmall Groupsen_US
dc.subjectSocial Controlen_US
dc.subjectOrganizationsen_US
dc.subjectStrictnessen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSociologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorChaves, Marken_US
dc.contributor.advisorBreiger, Ronalden_US
dc.contributor.chairChaves, Marken_US
dc.contributor.chairBreiger, Ronalden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLeahey, Erinen_US
dc.identifier.proquest2342en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659748219en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.