A Vision for the Future: A Religious Application of Symbolic Convergence Theory

Date of Graduation

Spring 2005


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Gloria Galanes


This study was conducted in coordination with the center city Baptist Church as part of an internal evaluative process. The research was brought into the project as an unbiased, outside consultant. Using the tenets of Bormann’s Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT), this study sought to identify the prevalent fantasy themes existing in the church and also analyze the themes through quantitative measures to examine the strength of identity with the themes. Church members attended a series of small group discussions and filled out a questionnaire of various subjects related to the church’s transition. The comments of the discussion were transcribed and compiled into a master document which was reviewed by the church’s ministerial leadership team and the researcher. It was determined there were three prevalent fantasy themes existing in the church. The first involved the congregation identifying with the church’s traditions and past successes, the second involved the congregations’ link with the Southern Baptist denomination, and the third involved the congregation’s perceived association of the success of the pastor with the success of the church as a whole. Each theme also exhibited a discrepancy in interpretation among the older members and the younger members.


symbolic convergence, fantasy theme, Southern Baptist, religion, church

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© Sam A. Mathews