ISBN : 9780190239688
Why do people go to church? What about a congregation attracts new members? What is it that draws women and men differently into diverse types of congregations? Getting to Church assesses the deeply personal and gendered narratives around how women and men move toward identifying with three very different Christian congregations one Orthodox, one conservative, and one mainline. Drawing on extensive research and ranging across layers of congregational history, leadership, architecture, new member process, programs, and service ministries, Sally Gallagher explores trajectories of joining, as well as membership loss and change over a seven-year period. By following both those who join a community and those who explore but choose not to, Gallagher avoids the methodological limitations of other studies and assesses the degree to which the spaces, people, programs, and doctrines within distinctive traditions draw women and men toward affiliation and involvement. Getting to Church demonstrates that women are attracted to specific doctrines and ideas, opportunities for individual reflection, experience and expanded personal agency; while men find in these congregations a sense of community within which they experience greater connection with other men, appreciate beauty, and yield to something greater than themselves. Drawing on extensive field work, personal interviews, and focus groups, Getting to Church challenges extant theories of gender and religious involvement.
Why Won't Religion Just Go Away?
Gender and Congregational Culture
Appendix: Fieldwork in Three Congregations