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The Black Megachurch
Theology, Gender, and the Politics of Public Engagement
WINNER of the 2012 W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award - Presented by The National Conference of Black Political Scientists
An explosion of flourishing black megachurches has changed the landscape of American religious life. Boasting memberships into the tens of thousands and meeting within both adorned walls and refurbished warehouse buildings, these contemporary fruits of the Civil Rights Movement hold many of the resources necessary to address America's contemporary social disparities. After studying nearly 150 black megachurches, Tamelyn N. Tucker-Worgs asks, How are these church communities engaging the public sphere? And, why are their approaches so varied?
The Black Megachurch sets aside the broad assumptions usually applied to the study of black churches and analyzes the three factors most necessary for social engagement—theological orientation, organization of community development initiatives, and gender-based spheres of labor and leadership. In doing so, Tucker-Worgs underscores the myriad ways in which black megachurches have responded to the changing social climate and concludes that while some have lived up to their potential, others have a long way to go.
1 Introduction: Answering the Knock at Midnight
2 "Get on Board Little Children, There's Room for Many More": The Black Megachurch Phenomenon
3 Theological Orientation as Motive to Black Megachurch Public Engagement
4 "Progress Not Protest": Black Megachurches and Community Development
5 Dual Gendered Spheres and Public Engagement in Black Megachurches: Women Carving Out Space to Make a Difference
6 Conclusion: Black Megachurches and Black Politics in the Twenty-First Century
"One cannot underestimate the importance of this topic and Tucker-Worgs's study.... Tucker-Worgs not only sophisticates our view of black megachurches by emphasizing the variation among them, but considerably adds to our understanding of the current and future face of the 'black church.'"
—Sociology of Religion (2012, 73:1)
"A timely analysis of a much discussed but rarely understood phenomenon. Finally, we have a book on religion and black politics that begins to provide some rigorous insight into the black megachurch movement. The Black Megachurch will be an important resource for years to come."
—Fredrick C. Harris, Professor of Political Science and Director for the Institute in African-American Studies, Columbia University
“… a well-researched and assessable survey of 147 black mega-churches. This book is highly recommended for those interested in understanding a phenomenon that will not be disappearing anytime soon.”
—Lewis Brogdon, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Religious Studies Review (2012, 38:3)
"... this is unquestionably the definitive study of African American megachurches."
—Choice (2012, 49:8)
"Tucker-Worgs advances a progressive framework for evaluating the impact of black megachurches while providing one of the most comprehensive profiles of these churches available to date."
—R. Drew Smith, Director, Center for the Church and the Black Experience, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
"The Black Megachurch is the best empirical study of black megachurches and politics. Covering 149 churches, Tucker-Worgs astutely shows their wide variety and relates their theological orientation to the types of public engagement they undertake."
—Lawrence Mamiya, Professor of Religion and Africana Studies on the Mattie M. Paschall Davis and Norman H. Davis Chair, Vassar College
Tamelyn N. Tucker-Worgs is Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.
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Tamelyn N. Tucker-Worgs
VIDEO: Tucker-Worgs - Answering the 'Call at Midnight'