Sexual Misconduct and the Future of Mega-Churches: How Large Religious Organizations Go Astray

Sexual Misconduct and the Future of Mega-Churches: How Large Religious Organizations Go Astray

Sexual Misconduct and the Future of Mega-Churches: How Large Religious Organizations Go Astray

Sexual Misconduct and the Future of Mega-Churches: How Large Religious Organizations Go Astray

Synopsis

Mega-churches- churches with congregations that number in the thousands of worshippers- are growing in popularity in America and around the world. Shockingly, a growing number of megachurch leaders have committed acts of sexual misconduct. While these scandalous crimes have received much attention through the media, literature that examines the topic in detail has been lacking. This book examines the various aspects of sexual misconduct by megachurch leaders, providing a comprehensive review of the topic that discusses the direct and indirect reasons for these crimes.

The book provides unbiased, factual coverage of megachurch sexual abuse cases, covering issues surrounding the victims in specific cases, the role of the church, and notable ministers, such as Ted Haggard of New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO; Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, GA; and Joe Barron of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX. The author also discusses how these incidences have impacted societal perceptions of religion, and large churches, and religious organizations, and provides recommendations to curb future cases of sexual abuse within megachurches.

Excerpt

Mega-churches are the most recent phenomenon in American religion. These churches have revolutionized religion by combining religious theology with secular methods of entertainment. To electrify attendees and motivate members, dynamic sermons, music, dancers, state-of-theart lighting systems, and stadium-size seating have replaced stodgy theology-based sermons, choirs singing from hymnals, and conventional church pews. Mega-church leaders have gained so much influence that they are able to grow their church memberships into thousands of devout worshippers. These charismatic showmen (99% of mega-church leaders are men) spread their messages around the world using satellite campuses, television, the Internet, and best-selling books and compact discs. They are advisors to presidents and movie producers, and live lavish lifestyles comparable to those of rock stars. Millions of people love them, crediting them with bringing throngs of nonworshippers back into the church, but equally millions criticize them for secularizing religion in order to grow their multi-million dollar churches.

Many consider mega-churches a religious and cultural fad. They gained prominence in the 1970s due to a social and cultural shift in the United States characterized by a distrust of bureaucratic organized entities, including the government and organized religions. In 1970, there were only 10 fully established mega-churches in the United States. By 2011, there were approximately 1,200. Significant problems accompanied their growth, including accusations that ministers were embezzling millions of dollars. While many mega-churches hid behind their tax-exempt . . .

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