|dc.description.abstract||The use of visual technology has become a significant medium of communication for churches in New Zealand. Its accessibility, coupled with market forces that rely on advertising to attract congregants, means some churches have increasingly felt the need to adapt, even adopt, secular practices to appear contemporary and thereby offer a culturally relevant message. Pentecostal churches are some of the most adept at utilising and absorbing these visual technologies into their own organisational systems. This is particularly evident amongst large Pentecostal churches, which put a lot of effort and energy into impression management. The aim of this project is to ask: in New Zealand, to what extent are these visual technologies shaping a Pentecostal ecclesia and the behavioural patterns of its participants? This research acknowledges the emergence of visual culture and the importance of images. It explores the role of images and how advertising uses visual technologies, promoting particular consumptive ideals in the process.
I explore these issues by examining data gathered through interviews and observation from Elim Christian Centre – East (EE). The thesis argues that while EE is very effective in communicating its identity and vision, its absorption of advertising practices makes it vulnerable to forces contrary to the gospel, which may in time undermine the integrity of its own vision. Further, I argue that, in adopting the strategies of the advertising world, the congregation of EE will likely end up adopting the values of the advertising world without knowing it is happening. I use semiotic and consumption theory to explore these concerns, and I make recommendations to the congregation towards a more considered approach.||