Thesis Title

Bill Hybels and the Willow Creek Community Church: a Study in Audience Analysis and Adaptation

Date of Graduation

Spring 1994

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Holt Spicer

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

This thesis examines how selected factors of audience analysis and adaptation are reflected in the philosophy and rhetoric of Bill Hybels, founder and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Illinois. General background information of the church growth movement in America is provided, placing the inception and development of the Willow Creek Community Church in that context. Selected aspects of the Burkeian model of rhetorical criticism are applied to two of Hybels' sermons, each being presented to a different target audience. The rhetorical criticism is used as a basis for observing and evaluating comparisons and contrasts in Hybels' approach to different target audiences. The differences in approach are subtle, yet distinct, making them all the more significant. Such significance implies that further study of the impact of audience analysis and adaptation as related to communication and church growth is warranted.

Copyright

© Gregory B Hafer

Citation-only

Dissertation/Thesis

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