This study has the social scientist in me worked up. I haven’t had time to digest it in full yet, but its conclusion are provocative and thought-provoking. As a sample,
The current study contributes to this line of research by showing howmegachurches, in a way, redefine the boundaries of insiders and outsiders. By eschewing whatthey seem to interpret as traditional boundary markers, they welcome all to participate in their interaction rituals thereby facilitating large-scale emotionally charged collective experiences. Atthe same time, they create cognitive distinctions between the insiders who know Jesus and areactively involved in the church and the outsiders who are viewed as contrary to the church’smembership symbols and mission. The interview responses indicated that attendees distinguish between mere spectators and spiritually mature, active members of the congregation. Manyrespondents expressed pride in being an active member, or rather, an insider – climbing the ranksof involvement and acquiring the special knowledge provided by their church. Themegachurches in this study exemplify selective sectarianism, which allows them to reap the benefits of sect-like cognitive boundaries as well as those gained from large organizational size.