Has anyone heard of the community church cos I'm not very happy there really(56 Posts)
Ok this might be a bit rambly but I really need some advice.
last year I got lots of debt help from The Christians against Poverty (CAP), I'mn still with them now, they have been and still are fantastic. They stopped us from losing our home and fed us for a week as we were really really desperate, we had bailiffs calling to the door amongst other things.
The CAP affiliated themselves with a local church 'The Community Church' and after a chat with a few of the volunteers I decided to go to a sunday srevice there to see what is was all about.
I was brought CofE although my parents never went but my primary school was CofE and I used to love the assemblies, the prayers and the hymns, the vicar and the times we used to have services in the church I found very peaceful. God has always been a part of my life, although not in an organised way iyswim which is why I felt the time was right last year to pick up my faith.
Iv found the whole experience very uncomfortable from the word go. There are non traditional hymn singing in fact there are no hyms it all modern christian songs and its all very happy clapping and lots of people falling to thier knees and muttering in tongues (fine if it works for you, I'm not dispresecting it)
There is also no vicar or pastor. When I asked who did the sermons I was told that the church leaders did the sermons and I just got the impression that it was a free for all.
they are also very very pushy. Iv been to a couple of soaking and prayer meetings at one ladies house which I did quite like but I can't go that often due to work commitments. Since them Iv had a couple of the leaders ringing me up asking me why I can't go to church some sundays and when they would next expect me. One in particular asked if I could explain to asda (where I work) that I go church and could they change my shifts so I could go!!! My children arent at all easy with going either because the first time I took them they came out of sunday school creche thing brandishing something they'd made with the words 'you are forgiven' on the back that someone had written. My ds was quite upset because he thought he'd done something wrong.
I got prayed over well the lady called it prophesised and God wanted to speak to me through her and then she came out with this weird stuff about my past, my feelings etc. A lot of it was true but then she kept saying that if I dont dedicate my life to jesus NOW then God will withdraw from my life and the bad stuff will just start up again.
Is this true, can someone enlighten me? because this experience threw me completely (as I think it was designed to do) I ended being pushed into making a commitment that didn't feel right and then 2 days later (today) I got a card in the post from the church from the asda fella saying we are so glad you have become a born again christian and do I want to get baptised on sunday!!
I do believe, but I want to do it in my own time, Iv got a bible that I do read and find comfort from but I feel so lost and this church isn't helping me.
I do feel obligated to stay with this church because of thier heavy involvement with CAP and my CAP debt councillor is one of the leaders and many people have been very nice 1 has become a good friend but argggg what do I do.
I live in North Wales so no chance of a CofE church and I know nothing about church of wales.
someone please reply.
Hi see this is zombie thread but hey ho i first became a christian in a pentecostal church what you describe is the reason i left there and moved on even tried to push me into getting baptised but my parents felt i was too young to make the right choice and i am glad they said no.
then because then after that it got worse they even told me not to listen to pop music or wear short skirts a real church shouldnt be like that. There will be churches like this you just have to move around churches until you feel comfortable somewhere. CAP are a brilliant organisation but dont feel pressured to go to the church they run from. i always think its good, for someones faith to be comfortable and accepted rather than pushed to do things and not look forward to Sunday mornings x
Just found this because I was looking for something else!
Don't know if you have sorted this out, but I could recommend Gateway Church www.gwrx.org/ which is part of a large organisation (New Frontiers), which is really good, and not at all pushy.
We have a Community Church where I'm from (US), and they're meant to be non-denominational. It's one of the (many) churches I was raised in, and while I don't think they're a cult, they are definitely very high pressure, mainly because there is such a focus on "being a church to the un-churched" and trying to welcome new people into the church.
As a bit of a separate point, I was never able to get an answer on this, but I'd be curious to hear what they said to you if you asked. In the bible, it says that you shouldn't speak in tongues in front of those who aren't believers or those who aren't qualified to translate (depending on which version you read). I think it does absolutely make those who aren't familiar with it very, very uncomfortable, and I wonder what their reasoning is for allowing it in a church when they know that there are non-believers there?
Carri. I nearly fell down with shock when i read you are part of wrexhams community church. I am wondering if I do in fact know you. I did leave the church and I also left cap around the same time as I fell out with my advisor from Bradford.
Im back with cap now and ive been asked if I want to attend church again. I really don't know if I should try again.
Blimey I am the op! I have name changed since then
I did end up leaving the church but I still havent found anywhere to go. Its quite difficult with the kids as they dont want to go.
That should read "...are NOT in agreement! "
Hi * sheepgomeep* I am so sorry you have had this negative experience. Although pleased the charity have been helpful to you.
It sounds like a bit of a mismatch, what you want and expect from this particular church and what they want and expect from you, are in agreement! They do also sound very pushy.
Please do not allow this to put you off Jesus.
I hope you will find another place to be and get to know God more in an environment that feels comfortable and friendly and pleasant.
If the church ask you why you do not wish to attend I would simply say you feel it is right to go elsewhere.
I agree with others that an Anglican style one might be more your type of thing based on what you have said.
All the best.
((( carrie - this thread is four years old. I won't mention anything if you don't)))
I am a member of the community church in Wrexham. Its not for everyone, and I was upset to read that people are being pushy with you.
So lets get it straight - you don't have to attend the church if you don't want to - its great you want to pursue God, but you don't have to do it at Wrexham Community Church. If all the help you want is the stuff you are getting from CAP, it is a service that is there for you to use - Christian, non-christian, church goer, non-church goer.
The church does have a 'pastor' it's just we don't call our church leader that - his name is Nick Pengelly - and if people are being pushy you can speak to him about it.
There is a leadership team - it is not a free for all. Different people do speak - but they are 'invited' to speak by leadership team.
Personally I find the shaking thing a bit over the top, but I do know I encounter God, but its 'one of them' happy clappy churches and people kinda do that thing. If you don't like it, you have no obligation to join in.
Wrexham community church used to part of New Day International, its not now. To be honest, even though I have been a member for almost 15 years, I still don't quite understand who the 'church' belongs to now. But then I don't particularly get involved with all that stuff. I like the services, I believe in God and I count the church members as friends and family. The stuff I don't like I don't get involved in.
I think if you told the people 'praying' for you, or ringing you etc. that you found them overwhelming, pushy and uncomfortable they would be devastated that they made you and your children feel that way.
In their defence most of the people at the church are good people - but even good people can get it wrong.
My advice. Keep getting the help you need from CAP if its helping but don't 'feel' you have to do anything you don't want to. And if people from the church are being a pain tell them its not helpful and they will understand. I'd also report them to your CAP advisor who can report it to the church leadership.
If you feel unhappy, or alarm bells are going off its usually the Holy Spirit. I too have had experiences with 'community churches' and they have all been bad.
sgm - did you visit the Methodist Church? Just wondering how you got on, my dd loves ours and they seem very good with kids and not too pushy.
Sorry for the hijack
To FAQ's post
"And he's seriously considering (and praying about) entering into ministry in the non-denominational churches"
Is that a a turn up for the book and a very nice one too or have I got the wrong dh?
just read copycats post - excellent advice there.
just another voice to say that the New Frontiers are generally very good and not at all pushy in a "it's our way of worship or no way" type of way.
I have just recently (yesterday) discovered that my parents (Methodist local preacher and CoE attenders too) and I attended when I was younger, and I know my SIl and her family attend one too.
I mentioned to DH about the comment you were told about God withdrawing from you if you didn't dedicate to him now and he was horrified. And he's seriously considering (and praying about) entering into ministry in the non-denominational churches. He says to find somewhere else that you feel comfortable
I have just discovered you having been looking up New Day International and their church in Wrexham as I have been to one or two of their meetings and was wondering whether they had a conference going on.
Firstly I would highly recommend that you re-read Copycat's message. She sounds as though she is very sensible and balanced in her walk with God and her knowledge of how some denominations operate. I know Community Church a bit and can quite appreciate your concerns. However, I can assure you that although I have no desire to be a regular attender to this church, even though I only live a few miles away, it is a church and not a cult.
I am so sorry that you have felt hassled but I am aware,having been guilty of this 'sin' myself that enthusiasm can overtake sensitivity and even common sense.
With regard to 'soaking' this came about through Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship when revival hit them in January 1994 and it is still going on. They discovered that the power of God could sometimes be so strong that people were falling to the floor and sometimes spending quite a bit of time there. As they sought testimonies they found a common denominator. God was drawing each one of them into a closer walk with him.
So 'soaking' came about, where you put on some worship type music ask God to be with you and protect you. Then you lie down on the floor and tell God that you are going to spend some time with Him, not praying or speaking but just waiting on Him. This could be five, ten, thirty minutes or so. And you get up and go on with your normal day.
In time or for some, immediately, this 'soaking' does draw you closer to the Father's heart and helps you to know better how much He loves you.
Hope this is helpful to anyone still reading this question and answer session. Sorry have no idea what to call it, have not been on this sort of site before.
I have been an enthusiastic supporter of CAP for a few years now, so when I read this thread I got quite worried and wrote to them. I have just received this statement back from them:-
"CAP clients are under no obligation to attend services at the partner church, or indeed to attend church at all. Should a client show interest in knowing more about God, a debt advisor will offer to pray for them and leave relevant literature. Should a client have no interest in matters other than debt counselling, they would continue to receive the highest quality service irrespective of their lack of interest in Christianity."
I hope this will set your mind at rest. maybe you could show this statement to the person at the church that has put you under pressure, so they can modify their behaviour
Thanks for letting us know.
I get "Reader" magazine, which is the magazine for Readers/Licensed Lay Ministers in the CofE. There was a 2 page feature on CAP which was very interesting - all very good stuff. So it definitely extends beyond independent community churches
Hi sorry its taken me a few days to catch up with this thread, many thanks for all your replies. Iv heard that the methodist church in wrexham is friendly my exs cousin got married there! I might go and have a look.
I'm not going to stop my involvement with CAP because of this though,
Thanks ,marybs for your help. Its greatly appreciated
SheepgoMeep, I think you already know this but CAP is in no way exclusive to the Community Church you've ended up in. Please don't turn away from the help they are offering you because of some weirdy experiences at church! Anyone telling you that you can go 'too far' and God will leave you is perhaps getting carried away trying to make a point. It isn't in His nature to abandon people when they need Him most. Keep looking - you'll find like minded people. But also stay open minded, you might be surprised at the kind of christian's you end up having the most in common with.
Just to let you know there's been another vote for the Methodist church...
I've had another reply, apparently St Marks church is very friendly, although main service is quite early, at 9:30am.
Sorry, forgot to say that your financial help should have absolutely bearing on your decisions.
It sounds like they have been a bit keen!
Yurtgirl, just to reassure, New Frontiers is a great organisation, and the churches within it all have autonomy, but submit to the wider leadership of New Fronteirs.
"Community church" is a very common title for 'free' churches, in itself it doesn't signify membership of any organisation.
OP - You have two options.
1. Give them a bit longer, but tell them that you find their 'keeness' a bit overwhelming, and would like to explore things at a slower pace. - If they are a good church, they should cope with that. We are a New Fronteirs church, and have some people who just dip in occasionally, some who only come to social events, and others who are fully committed to the church family. We aren't there for headcounts.
2. Find a church that is a bit lower key.
Hi sheepgomeep, I picked up your post yesterday but didn't have time to reply, however I did google your church and found their website here which makes reference to New Day International. My dh and I have attended a small non denominational christian fellowship for the past 15 years or more which sounds like a 'toned down' version of the community church that you have been attending and I spent the previous 10 years in larger more lively churches like New Frontiers. However I did become a christian through friends who attended a Baptist church and I spent the first couple of years of my christian life exploring my faith in a less 'scary' 'out there' spiritual environment.
When I eventually started to attend a lively evangeligal/pentecostal type of church it was because my personal relationship with God and my understanding of bible scriptures relating to gifts of the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer, healing, prophesy, spiritual authority (I don't mean authority over another person but authority in prayer and in your own life) had deepened and I felt assured enough in my relationship with God to move into a more challenging christian environment. Without enough biblical knowledge and understanding and internal encouragement of the Holy Spirit (not another well-meaning, fervent Christian!) I don't think it would have been helpful to me personally to attend a very charismatic. As my passion for God grew so did my hunger to move out of my spiritual comfort zone into something more challenging.
Having read the Wrexham Community Church website I don't think the church is a cult. They have links with other churches here and abroad. I haven't heard of New Day Int but the type of service you have described is quite ummm 'American' if you know what I mean (no disrespect meant, I'm just sensing that the style of the services, meetings and ministries is very Spirit lead and charismatic). 'Prayer soaking' for example doesn't sound like an English expression. A cult would be exclusive "we are the only church you should go to as we are the only ones who really understand the truth .." that kind of thing. However, it does sound like some members of the congregation are not gauging your spiritual temperature so to speak and are trying to draw you too quickly and too forcefully into a deeper spiritual commitment. Personally, from what you have described, I would imagine that their own fervency and excitement about the things of God has overpowered their sensitivity to you as a person. Encouragement from another Christian is one thing but no one should 'talk you into' or persuade you to become a Christian - it has to be God through his Holy Spirit who calls you to place your life in His hands. It is your response to His love and grace that has to be the foundation of your Christian faith and, as has been said, God's love is unconditional and eternal and is not dependent on you but is freely offered for you to receive as a personal choice.
It sounds as though you are comfortable with God and being a Christian but not with the style of worship at the church you have been attending. In a way I am not suprised! It's a complete shock to attend a highly pentecostal type of church as a non-believer or a young Christian and understandably scary. I have been there too and I completely understand how you are feeling. It's such an alien environment to everything that you have come across before (especially if you have had other experiences of church) which is why I would encourage you to explain how you are feeling to one of your closer contacts/friends at the church and see if they can get everyone to back off and allow you to journey with God at your own pace.
Please continue to explore your precious but fragile faith in ways you feel comfortable - through books or teaching CDs or your own Bible readings and prayer and, if you are really struggling then try a different church which is less ... ummm fervent. Maybe the New Frontiers church would be similar but more toned down.
I do hope and pray that the love and care that you have received from the people at CAP hasn't been tainted by the pushyness of other less sensisitve (although probably well-meaning) christians. Don't give up on church life - there is a 'comfortable' spiritual home out there for you and your family and I shall pray that God will help you find it.
Keep in touch in the coming weeks and let us know how you get on.
Oh. Just had a deeper look, and if that is the para-church umbrella for your church, then they are very much at the more outlandish end of the charismatic spectrum.
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