Dr Mark Jennings
BA (Tabor), BTh (Murdoch), PhD (Murdoch)


About me

My research is primarily in the Sociology of Religion. I have a continuing interest in Pentecostal spirituality and the development of Pentecostalism as a phenomenon in the twenty-first century. I have also written on the relationship between secularisation and religion in the twentieth and early twenty-first century. I also have an interest and expertise in research methods, and the sociology of popular music. My research continues to explore the interaction between theology, philosophy and sociology, particularly as it relates to popular culture and religion. I am an early career researcher, and very much enjoying the process of writing and teaching in the beginning stages of my career.

Research areas


Popular Culture

Proto-religious phenomena

Interaction between sociology and theology

Religious studies

Current projects

Two Different Worlds – understanding the experience of LGBTI people in Australian Pentecostal-Charismatic churches

The intention of this project is to explore the ways in which people that identify as LGBTI and PCC in Australia negotiate these two seemingly disparate ways of life and identities. Also important in this research will be the pastoral response of PCC pastors and church leaders in assisting the covertly or overtly LGBTI individuals under their care to navigate these challenges.

30-40 in-depth interviews will be conducted with people who fall into this cohort. In addition, up to 20 in-depth interviews will be carried out with pastors or leaders of PCC congregations, identifying their theological and pastoral approach to LGBTI individuals and issues.

Some of the questions I seek to find answers to in this research include:

  1. What are some of the unique challenges faced by LGBTI congregation members in PCC churches, and how do they negotiate these challenges?
  2. What might be the factors that lead LGBTI people – both closeted or out – to continue attending PCC congregations, rather than becoming members of other denominations or ceasing to attend churches altogether?
  3. How do PCC church leaders respond theologically and pastorally to LGBTI issues and individuals, whether they are aware of any who attend their congregations or not?

Evaluation of the Pathways Service, UnitingCare West

The Pathways service aims to provide holistic, across service boundary, individualised service to 50 people who are homeless / at risk of homelessness / have a disability / mental illness and have complex support needs.

The purpose of the evaluation is essentially to outline a before, during and after picture of the 50 individuals participating in the service, outlining:

  1. The condition of clients prior to accessing the service (e.g. capacity to live safely and sustainably, level of social inclusion and interconnectedness, physical and mental health)
  2. The assessment processes built into the everyday functioning of the service, recording and measuring changes in the conditions of those accessing the service.
  3. The condition of clients after one year and two years of participating in the service, comparing and contrasting with (1) above.

Awards and grants

Funding Body: Australian Research Theology Foundation Inc.

Title of Research Proposal: Two Different Worlds – Understanding the Experience of LGBTI people in Australian Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches

Amount funded: $8985.00

Doctoral and masters supervisions

Doctoral students: Naomi Sharin “The dance of Dakini in an ordinary woman’s life: A creative-critical conversation between Vajrayana Buddhism and Feminism.” Secondary supervisor (40%) (principal supervisor – Nado Aveling 60%).



  • Jennings, M., (2014),Exaltation: Ecstatic Experience in Pentecostalism and Popular Culture,Peter Lang Publishing.


  • Jennings, M., (2010),Collective Effervescence, Numinous Experience or Proto-Religious Phenomena? Moshing with Durkheim, Schleiermacher and Otto,In: Philosophical and Cultural Theories of Music, Koninklijke Brill NV, pages 107 to 128.


  • Jennings, M., (2015), An extraordinary degree of exaltation: Durkheim,effervescence and Pentecostalisms defeat of secularisation, Social Compass, 62, 1, pages 61 - 75.
  • Jennings, M., (2014), Imagining Jesus doing a Whole Lotta Shakin': Pentecostal worship, popular music and the politics of experience, Culture and Religion, 15, 2, pages 211 - 226.
  • Jennings, M., (2014), Breaking free to the limit: Playing with foucault, otto, and pentecostal experience, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 29, 1, .
  • Jennings, M., (2014), Breaking Free to the Limit: Foucault, Otto and Pentecostal Experience., Journal of Contemporary Religion, 29, 1, pages 33 - 45.
  • Jennings, M., (2013), The Fourth Gospel's Reversal of Mark in John 13,31-14,3, Biblica, 94, 2, pages 210 - 236.
  • Jennings, M., (2010), Ive got a spirit coming through me: music as hierophany and musicians as shamans., Australian Religion Studies Review, 23, 2, pages 210 - 228.
  • Jennings, M., (2010), Realms of re-enchantment: socio-cultural investigations of festival music space., Perfect Beat, 11, 1, pages 67 - 83.
  • Jennings, M., (2008), 'Won't you break free?' An ethnography of music and the divine-human encounter at an Australian Pentecostal church., Culture and Religion, 9, 2, pages 161 - 174.


  • Jennings, M. 2012. ‘Unlikely comrades: The joys and challenges of community agencies working together in partnership, managing a shared project.’ Evaluation report commissioned by CLAN WA and Murdoch University, Western Australia.

Conference Presentations

  • 2007. ‘Won’t you break free?’ An ethnography of music and the divine-human encounter at an Australian Pentecostal church. TASA & SAANZ joint conference, University of Auckland.
  • 2008. That Feeling of Exaltation: An Ethnography of Music and Religious Experience at a Music Festival. Music, Culture and Society Conference, Monash University.
  • 2012. Elementary forms, Pentecostalism and the demise of Secularisation theory. Durkheim Symposium, Flinders University.
  • 2012. Music as Hierophany and Musicians as Shamans. IASPM conference, University of Tasmania.
  • 2013. An Extraordinary Degree of Exaltation: Durkheim, Effervescence and Pentecostalism’s defeat of Secularization. Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations: 50 years of Australian Sociology TASA Conference, Monash University.
  • 2014. An Extraordinary Degree of Exaltation: Durkheim, Effervescence and Pentecostalism’s defeat of Secularization. Faith in Motion: Religion in the Twenty-first Century, University of Western Australia
  • 2014. Defusing the Horizons? Content Analysis and Hermeneutics. Changing Identities, Institutions and Communities TASA Conference, University of South Australia.
  • 2014. Defusing the Horizons? Content Analysis and Hermeneutics. OPO V: Phenomenology and the Problem of Meaning in Human Life and History, Murdoch University.
  • 2015. Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity and Late-Modernity: A Symbiosis? Religious History Association, University of Sydney.

Media Outputs

  • Jennings, M. 27 June 2014. ‘Pentecostal, Pearl Jam – Music brings Ecstasy to us all.’ The Conversation.https://theconversation.com/pentecostal-pearl-jam-music-brings-ecstasy-to-us-all-28411

You can read reviews of my book here:

You can also read an interview where I answer questions about the book here: