Types of Religious Organization
Religious groups vary widely in their organizational structure. Although some groups are large and somewhat bureaucratically organized, others are small and have a relatively informal authority structure. Some require total commitment of their members; others expect members to have only a partial commitment. Sociologists have developed typologies or ideal types of religious organization to enable them to study a wide variety of religious groups. The most common categorization sets forth four types: Ecclesiastes, church, sect, and cult.