Pentecostal pastorpreneurs and the global circulation of authoritative aesthetic styles

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    Abstract

    This article argues that the rise of pastorpreneurs in global neo-Pentecostalism calls for an aesthetic perspective on religious authority and leadership in the context of new media. Different from mainline churches, religious leadership in neo-Pentecostal (In many parts of the world, neo-Pentecostal or new Pentecostal churches have emerged since the 1980s. They are usually independent churches, organized in loose national or transnational networks, Anderson 2004) churches is not legitimised by denominational traditions and the ordination of clergy but by pastorpreneurs, (Twitchell uses the term pastorpreneurs to describe megachurch pastors who by using marketing techniques and other entrepreneurial business skills create stand-alone religious communities that challenge top-down denominationalism (2007:3). The term is also used from an emic perspective. In 2003 John Jackson published a book called Pastorpreneurs, Friendswood: Baxter) pastors who combine entrepreneurial business skills and an orthodox Christian message, fostering a neo-Pentecostal style of spirituality. The emergence of this new mode of religious leadership described as pastorpreneurs is investigated in a thriving Pentecostal megachurch located at the heart of the Dutch Bible belt. As the Dutch case demonstrates, the rapid development of new media technology creates and facilitates a rapid spread of performative authoritative modes of leadership on a global scale. Pentecostal megachurches in different parts of the world, because of their size and success and presence in the online world, operate as authoritative centres of divine blessing, inspiration and even God's presence. So, it is not doctrine that binds people together but rather shared aesthetic forms that have the capacity to evoke religious experiences and the tangible felt presence of God.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)146-159
    JournalCulture and Religion
    Volume16
    Issue number2
    Early online date14 Jul 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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