Presented at The 50th Annual Conference of the Western Social Science Association: Denver, CO, April 23, 2008. 30 pages. Western Social Sciences Association.
This research is an analysis of visual, operational, informational, fundraising, and merchandising content of World Wide Web sites of 13 leading renewalist Christian ministries. Renewalist Christians espouse a “Health and Wealth” theology that is embraced by increasing numbers of believers worldwide. A content analysis, coupled with the application of media framing and constant comparative analysis allowed for quantitative and qualitative findings. Visual and operational content was found to be oriented mostly toward communication, while informational content was oriented mostly toward evangelization. Most renewalist sites eschewed traditional Christian symbolism and emphasized positive themes and “can do” encouragement. Fundraising and product sales were key components of online efforts to solidify relationships with followers. It remains to be seen whether the methods used by renewalist ministries will transfer to mainline denominations.