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Project: Urban Religion

The Urban Religion Project:
Independent Pentecostal Megachurches in Southeast Asian Cities

This research project examines independent Pentecostal megachurches in contemporary Southeast Asian cities. It looks at the way these megachurches engage with mass consumption, business, urban identity-formation, and national politics in Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

With young and dynamic congregations largely made up of middle and upper-middle class believers, these Pentecostal megachurches are sites in which the spiritual and economic converge. Different scholars will offer insights into the negotiated growth of Christianity in various Southeast Asian cities.

On a broader level, the examination of how these Pentecostal megachurches flourish will enrich the literature on Pentecostalism in the global South and Asia, in particular. Specifically, this research project will examine the links between the megachurch and the local middle class and explore the nexus between spirituality and the material as demonstrated in the teachings and actions of the megachurch.

Ethnographic research will demonstrate, how and if, these megachurches tap on transnational networks on the one hand, while remaining indigenously relevant on the other, and the ways in which they may indigenise themselves through cell groups and the use of local culture. The megachurch’s location in the political landscape will be explored with attention to its historical and contemporary relationship with the state, as well as its socio-political relations with other religious communities.

Research Outputs:

ISEAS Perspective 2014/17
By Terence Chong

Researcher-in-charge   : Dr Terence Chong (terencechong@iseas.edu.sg)