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Subsidizing Religious Participation Through Groups: A Model Of The "Megachurch" Strategy For Growth

Date Added: Jul 2010
Format: PDF

Either despite or because of their non-traditional approach, megachurches have grown significantly in the United States since 1980. This paper models religious participation as an imperfect public good which, absent intervention, yields suboptimal participation by members from the church's perspective. Megachurches address this problem by employing secular based group activities to subsidize religious participation in an effort to increase attendees' religious investment. This strategy not only allows megachurches to attract and retain new members when many traditional churches are losing members, but also results in higher levels of individual satisfaction thereby allowing the megachurch to raise levels of commitment and faith practices.