Moral Ambition: Mobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches

By Omri Elisha | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Awaking Sleeping Giants

Whether you are a newcomer or seasoned churchgoer, one of the serious challenges of attending a worship service at a suburban megachurch on Sunday morning is finding a decent parking spot. A novice in every sense, I learned quickly that to get a good space in the sprawling parking lots of either Eternal Vine Church or Marble Valley Presbyterian—the two evangelical megachurches where I attended services on an alternating basis—I would need to set out early and beat the rush. For most commuting churchgoers in Knoxville, getting to church on time means waking up early, feeding and dressing the kids, and loading everyone in the car for a drive of anywhere from five to thirty minutes (or more) along the congested interstate. With no children of my own and only a twenty-minute drive to church, I still somehow managed to arrive late. I would race through alternate routes, a cup of hot coffee in one hand, steering wheel in the other, only to end up idling behind a caravan of SUVs, minivans, pickup trucks, and shiny sedans waiting to enter an unforgiving maze of parked cars glistening under the steamy Tennessee sun.

Like all megachurches, Eternal Vine and Marble Valley Presbyterian hold multiple worship services to accommodate the size and growth of their congregations. At the time of my fieldwork, both congregations held two morning services—9:00 A.M. and 11:15 A.M.—in addition to early evening services usually catering to young adults (separate chapel services were held in the morning for children and teenagers).

-36-

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Moral Ambition: Mobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Awaking Sleeping Giants 36
  • Chapter 3 - A Region in Spite of Itself 61
  • Chapter 4 - The Names of Action 85
  • Chapter 5 - The Spiritual Injuries of Class 121
  • Chapter 6 - Compassion Accounts 153
  • Chapter 7 - Taking the (Inner) City for God 183
  • Epilogue 214
  • Notes 223
  • References 241
  • Index 253
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