Worship and the Megachurch digital conference

Thursday 15 October (09:00) - Saturday 17 October 2020 (17:00)

Over recent decades, megachurches have come to play an increasingly visible role in the contemporary devotional landscape.

Conference announcement: This conference has now been moved into a digital platform, which we hope will allow other scholars to participate. For this reason the deadline for abstracts has been moved to 1 August 2020. The organisers also welcome research on other megachurches, perhaps with links to Australian groups. Registration is now open, further details on how to register can be found below.

Over recent decades, megachurches have come to play an increasingly visible role in the contemporary devotional landscape.

In Australasia (or Oceania/the Pacific), megachurches such as Hillsong, Planetshakers, C3, Citipointe, Influencers, METRO play an important role both in the national religious landscapes and beyond. The successful export of music and preaching style has increased the global influence of these congregations. Worship practices that originated in this region have been adopted and adapted into a wide range of contexts around the world.

Traditionally defined to be Christian congregations with a regular weekly attendance of over 2,000 members, these megachurches represent a small fraction of the region’s Christians, but nevertheless a large worshipping population due to both their scale and their popularity. Sometimes known as “growth churches,” the continuing evangelistic efforts of these churches form just one element of often full and multi-faceted intergenerational programme offerings.

How can we understand the ecclesial influence of these models, or in other words, what is distinctive about the megachurch and its worship? What kinds of strategic or leadership decisions are necessary within multi-venue, multi-campus organisations? How do these churches conceptualise their ethnic and generational diversity? How should we understand their place within (post)-colonial power structures and their relationship to capital? How do media representations, which often focus upon prosperity theology or celebrity involvement, shape the public discourse relating to these movements?

Call for papers: conference presentations

Authors are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 400 words, outlining the purpose, methods, and implications of their presentation.

This conference invites 20 minute papers which respond to these above questions or which consider other aspects of contemporary megachurch worship practices. The committee welcomes interdisciplinary perspectives including, but not limited to, (ethno)musicological, theological, historical, anthropological, and sociological approaches.

Australasian scholars are especially encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to those with experience of or data directly related to megachurches. Although open to a range of perspectives, it particularly welcomes those personally involved in a megachurch context or who have a long association with it.


Worship and the Megachurch Conference Schedule 

Plans for publication

Authors may be invited to submit to a follow-on journal special edition based on their presentation at this conference. If you are unable to present but interested in being considered for a chapter, please make it clear to the editorial team when submitting your abstract.

Deadline for submissions: 17 September 2020.

To submit an abstract or for further information about the event please email: megachurchworship@contacts.bham.ac.uk