Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

David Coogan

Second Advisor

Laura Browder

Third Advisor

James Kinney

Fourth Advisor

Mark Wood


The Richmond Outreach Center “The ROC” is an independent soulwinning megachurch in Richmond, Virginia. This thesis explores how rhetoric plays a role in the rapid growth of this urban church and considers the church’s response—rhetorically and politically—to the city’s social issues. Through a rhetorical analysis of sermons and written texts by Geronimo Aguilar, the ROC’s founder and pastor, it is concluded that Aguilar has generated a rhetoric of change that says social change must come to Richmond and that everyone, both rich and poor, are responsible for change. Aguilar galvanizes an audience to seek social change because he articulates roles for individuals within his vision and links the ideological and material concerns of his congregants and the city’s poor. Aguilar’s rhetorical strategies and rhetorical performances indicate that he follows logics of articulation rather than logics of influence. These findings may be useful to social movement and church leaders concerned with growth.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010