School of Communication and the Arts


Doctor of Philosophy in Communication (PhD)


Wesley Hartley


communication, church flourishment, strategy




This study provides qualitative phenomenological observations that analyze and describe communication styles in ten flourishing churches. Practicing Christians contribute significantly to our society and culture. The primary goal of this study was to investigate the communication cultural themes within healthy and flourishing churches. The parameters of this study were limited to ten churches found on the Outreach Magazine Top-100 largest and fastest growing churches in America. Each of these churches was visited one time during a Sunday morning service. During this process, this researcher was a participant observer, examining and flourishing themes in real-time while observing the ten churches. People must attend church regularly because it could advance objective morality. This qualitative study will provide scholarly insight to future church leaders and members to help them grow in their communicative experiences with God. The issue is that religious organizations frequently struggle rather than flourish. While some churches struggle to thrive, others have learned how to use communication styles and integrated communication marketing to their advantage. Within each of these ten church cultures, several common themes emerged. Five primary communication themes were observed within these flourishing churches: inclusion, music, spiritual development, aesthetics, and benediction attention. The communication of the churches visited exemplifies each of these five categories. As a result, this study provides an in-depth ethnographic examination of the researcher's lived experiences while visiting flourishing churches to aid in the growth of God's Kingdom and the local church.

Included in

Communication Commons