Across America churches now compete to provide "total service excellence." These pastorpreneurs don't just preach on Sundays. They don't just provide services for the great rituals of birth, death and marriage. They keep their buildings open seven days a week, from dawn to dusk, and provide a mind-boggling array of services: some megachurch complexes even contain banks, pharmacies, and schools. Counseling and guidance groups are routine. So are children's ministries. .... All this emphasis on customer service is producing a predictable result: growth. (pp. 185-186)The trends identified by the authors can be viewed in many lights. Is it the secularization of churches? Or the sacralization of the secular? Yet, the authors claim that the rapid growth is "forcing churches to become yet more business-like and management-obsessed" (p. 187).
Overall, the authors identify how market forces are at play in many aspects of religious life, from the variety of religious choices available for religious consumers to the practices of religious leaders. Can you think of other ways that market forces are influencing religious life?