Society for the Anthropology of Religion
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
The original country church growth assessment model (Gooren 2001) analyzed church growth at country level as the result of four religious and four nonreligious factors, which could be internal or external to the churches under study. The paper expands this model into the country church growth assessment protocol, which also systematically assesses all chronological church growth statistics and additional factors to establish the most reliable data on the main church growth and decline periods for a country. This new country church growth assessment protocol is applied to Paraguay and Chile to assess the past, current, and future development of all churches here. Data are used from the new Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions (Springer 2019) as well as from my ethnographic fieldwork in nine religious groups in Asunción, Paraguay and Santiago de Chile, where I collected literature, conducted in-depth participant-observation, and together with five research assistants carried out more than 150 life history interviews. The paper correlates country-level church growth to contextual factors (such as anomie, poverty, and urbanization) and also explores the impact of majority religion, historical conversion patterns, world view, spirituality, church leadership, organizational structure, contingency factors, social networks, and church use of mass media for evangelization to contribute to the ongoing development of the anthropology of Christianity, Catholicism, Mormonism, and Pentecostalism.