Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

John Meyer, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

This study provides insight into the persuasion techniques used by churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as the reactions of people of lower economic status to the persuasion techniques. Furthermore, this study provides a unique look at rhetorical persuasion strategies used by a religious organization. Results of this study indicate that church members relied on its own credibility, logical and emotional appeals to need, and appeals to humor to influence, it turned out, a person of lower economic status’ acceptance of persuasion via a peripheral route and being positively affected by the church’s credibility. The findings also suggest that Source Credibility Theory and the Elaboration Likelihood Model are major components in the acceptance of persuasion by people of lower economic status. The results of this study provide theoretical insight into our understanding of church persuasion techniques as a whole and strengthen the credibility of practical persuasion tactics that, paired with other factors, could lead other churches to success in proselytization of people of lower economic status.

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