When All Comes Crumbling Down
A Nigerian Pastor and his Congregation in the Diaspora
Keywords:Redeemed Christian Church of God, pastorship, meaning-making
Based on ethnographic research in a local RCCG congregation, the Jesus House in Midtown, Sweden, this article focuses on the meaning of pastorship to its founding pastor, John, and on the nature of the relationship between John and his congregation. Results show that to John, pastorship means hard work but also an opportunity for social mobility. As he founded the Jesus House, John took on considerable financial risk, realistically turning him into a church-owner. Furthermore, the relationship between pastor and congregation implies a contract where John is expected to protect his congregants from illness and death. As a congregant dies, a crisis hits and the congregation starts to break apart. In order to save his congregation, John first appeals to his own spiritual powers, but then resorts to pleading to the structures of plausibility within the congregation. As the paper argues, this shows the importance of both cognitive and relational aspects of meaning-making.
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