4.3.3 Inviting People to Join a Group

By inviting people to join a group, it grows in size and influence; some groups use their power to pursue religious or political agendas.

It’s easier being with others who share one’s values.  People can work or play together more effectively if they develop a team spirit.  And groups both support and control their members, as described above (4.3.2).  People instinctively act according to the values of the groups they belong to, without anyone looking over their shoulder.  This affects their interactions on Internet social media and the influence that they exert on other people.  The group’s influence spreads far beyond its own membership.

Evangelical churches in America offer a spectacular example of increasing the size of a group, as described in an Economist article: American megachurches are thriving by poaching flocks.  The article describes competition:

“Concentration among churches accelerated as costs rose in the 1970s, notes Mark Chaves of Duke University. Smaller ones lost members.

.. With more money and more hands, megachurches can innovate. Though they account for just 0.5% of all churches and 7% of churchgoers, their influence is felt in the music played elsewhere and the popularity of their TED-talk-style sermons, says Scott Thumma of the Hartford Institute.

.. Their success illustrates what it takes to compete in a dynamic spiritual marketplace.”

Groups have different reasons for wanting more members, and several ways of inviting people to join:

●  People in social groups want to attract members ( People like to have lots of friends, and social clubs can afford better facilities if they have more members.  And bigger groups are more powerful in pursuing moral and political agendas.

●  Parents want children to share their values ( Religious parents take steps to induct their children into the same faith, and that is a contentious issue.

●  Religious organisations want to convert people ( A missionary might want to save someone’s soul.  A church might want to become more powerful and wealthy.



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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/433.htm.