This essay examines the functions of stories in the talks given by church leaders in two Southern Appalachian denominations, Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee and Southern Baptist, in the 1950's. Speakers used stories primarily to manage meaning, thereby shaping the organizational realities of church members. Although there were few differences between the two denominations in the functions of stories, there were differences related to leaders' status. Ministers and lay leaders told the same number of stories; however, ministers told more stories concerned with managing meaning and lay leaders told more stories designed to reduce listener uncertainty. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephanie_coopman/9/