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The Evolution of Wellbeing in Megachurches: From Healing to Personal Fulfilment
30 Apr 2024

“The Evolution of Wellbeing in Megachurches: From Healing to Personal Fulfilment” was the topic of a webinar organised by the Studies in Inter-religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme on 30 April 2024. Dr Jayeel Cornelio, Associate Professor at Ateneo de Manilla University and Visiting Professor at the University of Louisville, presented his research on shifting emphases within Christian megachurch preaching on the subject of wellbeing. Dr Paul Hedges, Associate Professor at SRP Programme, introduced the session, while Luca Farrow, Senior Analyst at the same Programme, moderated the Q&A session that followed.

Dr Cornelio noted that while megachurch preaching on wellbeing has previously focused on physical healing and material prosperity as the core components of wellbeing (the prosperity gospel), there has been a more recent additional focus on personal fulfilment, entailing concern for the sense of purpose and the quality of personal relationships of congregants. This was presented in the context of the rise of a therapeutic culture and ethos of self-improvement in wider society, that encourages introspection and diagnostics of personal difficulties, and which is now reflected in megachurches. Dr Cornelio gave examples from megachurches in the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.

The Q&A session presented Dr Cornelio the opportunity to elaborate on aspects of his presentation and opine on several other areas of interest to the audience. There was discussion of, amongst other things, the effect of new megachurch teachings on congregants’ attitudes to other Christians who do not attend megachurches, and to people of other faiths. Dr Cornelio also addressed the issues of charity and the place of ritual within megachurch theologies of wellbeing.

Watch the webinar here:

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