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Moral AmbitionMobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches$
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Omri Elisha

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267503

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267503.001.0001

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Awaking Sleeping Giants

Awaking Sleeping Giants

(p.36) Chapter 2 Awaking Sleeping Giants
Moral Ambition

Omri Elisha

University of California Press

The aim of this chapter is to describe the institutional context of the two megachurches where a significant portion of author's fieldwork was based and to situate it in relation to the larger cultural context of the church-growth movement as a whole. A megachurch is typically defined as a Protestant congregation with an average of two thousand or more worshippers attending weekly services. The author refers to Marble Valley Presbyterian Church, which is one of the oldest and most venerated churches in Knoxville. The physical complex of the megachurch is located near a busy intersection on the edge of the county. It features a central facility composed of two adjoining red-brick buildings with white church spires and neoclassical facades. The self-conscious fusing of modern and traditional elements at Marble Valley Presbyterian Church is a common feature among North American megachurches. The urgency of the moral ambitions pertaining to various issues has an air of millennialist anticipation, fueled by the belief that the very existence of megachurches in Knoxville, and the fact that a few churches were growing and expanding at unprecedented rates, heralded a new period of religious awakening in the region.

Keywords:   Protestant congregation, megachurches, Knoxville, modern instruments, Presbyterian Church

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