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Please talk to me about your opinion of evangelical style worship

(48 Posts)
NewChristian Mon 29-Feb-16 21:01:10

My original background is Anglo-Catholic and it's very set worship. I am beginning to think this doesn't suit me.

Someone sent me a link to sermons at the Gateway Church in the US and I found some of them really helpful. But I've heard criticisms of evangelical churches from others who say that they twist scripture and can be manipulative. I've seen it on here in the past.

How are you supposed to know what is right for you? Sorry to ask but I'm very confused about where to go.

EdithSimcox Mon 29-Feb-16 22:09:25

I'm not sure I have an opinion about evangelical style worship, so this may not be much help. But I do have experience of finding out what is right for me, and I have to say there is no substitute imo for just trying places out. Go along to anywhere that sounds good, or is local, or just because you can, and I think you'll get a feel pretty quickly for places that seem like a 'fit'. I went to one or two places quite a few times and felt uncomfortable in a way I couldn't put my finger on, and only found out later why - in my case because the priest was anti-women clergy / Bishops. So there was a reason even though I didn't know it, but my gut instinct was spot on. I also managed to weed a few out by looking at their websites - a couple demonstrated priorities that didn't match mine shall we say.

FWIW, I imagine, though I don't know, that there is also quite a lot of variety in more evangelical churches - in terms of style, theology, approach to issues like sexual orientation etc etc - so you might want to try a few different places even if they look similar 'on paper'. I expect that churches that can be manipulative do exist, but surely many others with a more evangelical style but which are very lovely and not like that at all.

I expect someone with a lot more knowledge than me will be along soon to give you some more specific advice.

nosupport Mon 29-Feb-16 22:17:51

They can be incredibly manipulative and incredibly controlling. Spent my childhood/early adulthood in them.

It's hypnotism and hype.

NewChristian Mon 29-Feb-16 23:07:58

Thank you for your replies. This is helpful. In what ways are they manipulative? Do they actually misrepresent scripture?

ApocalypseSlough Mon 29-Feb-16 23:23:13

I've just started attending one from a very similar background to you OP. It's very unpushily friendly. I've been greeted, asked if I'm visiting, welcomed back, welcomed back again and I'm finding the 'preaches' sermons incredibly sane and practical.
I'm not sure if I'm ready to jump permanently but I'm really enjoying exploring and I'm not being pressurised.

LadyCassandra Mon 29-Feb-16 23:32:24

Interesting what we call Evangelical. I go to an Anglican Evangelical Church, which I think is very Gospel Centred, and not at all hypnotic or hype.
In terms of "worship" if you are thinking about music, we sing modern worship songs with a rock band. I love this because I don't generally listen to organ music in my every day life so why would I when I go to church and sing/praise God?
I am in Australia in a large city and I never found a church I could engage with and feel was relative to me until I came here, but since leaving I have heard of many Anglican churches in the UK similar to ours, so maybe it has got better since I left. I would say there is nothing wrong with visiting a few different churches and seeing where you "fit".

NewChristian Mon 29-Feb-16 23:38:06

Thanks everyone. LadyCassandra - I've heard that Evangelical and evangelical with a small e have differing meanings.

sashh Tue 01-Mar-16 06:13:05

Thank you for your replies. This is helpful. In what ways are they manipulative? Do they actually misrepresent scripture?

I thinnk they pick and choose scripture eg being gay - an abomination, wearing polycotton not an abomination.

Derren Brown did quite an interesting programme about evangelical worship and 'healings' -

One of my close friends attends this type of church and she gets a lot out of it so I suppose it is what is right for you, I'd avoid the healing type churches.

Personally when she was talking about a pastor from the US flying in on his private jet I asked a few questions that she didn't seem bothered about.

Evangelical worship is quite varied. You are more likely to find a praise band in an evangelical church than a traditional one but that is not always the case. Evangelicals can be charismatic as well and you are more likely to find charismatic evangelicals than charismatic ACs but they are around (mostly on my facebook feed as I have a lot of friends in this stream.)

As said up thread the theology is varied as well. There are conservative evangelicals who, for example, would not have women in leadership whereas also open and affirming evangelicals will. Most evangelical churches will have longer sermons that the 10-12 minute versions you will hear in a traditional church.

Given the variety of styles of evangelical church it is worth trying a few and seeing how it feels to you. What I struggle with in some of the evangelical churches I've been to is the sense that there is only one interpretation of scripture. The patriarchy can be pretty close to the surface but that is true of some AC places as well.

Blessings as you try out new places.

Hennifer Tue 01-Mar-16 09:34:16

I've never got on with the local evangelical churches here, simply because I feel as though I'm being manipulated by them into attending church or religion based activities for my children.

The way they do it varies between their existing congregation inviting me to 'just turn up for a coffee, if doesn't matter if you believe or not' to leaflets about holiday clubs handed out at school, which don't say anything about religion till you read the small print.

I don't like it. I'd rather folks were straight with me - go to their church, do what they like but not try to get me to join by doing things like that. And if I don't believe, why would I go to church anyway - are they going to try and make me believe?

So that's just my view. I half believe and half don't, but I wouldn't go there under any circumstances.

NattyTile Tue 01-Mar-16 09:50:22

Style of worship, or style of service?

If you're feeling your current church isn't quite right, have a look around and try on a few more for size. There are evangelical CofE churches and evangelical Catholic Churches, as we as non-denominational a and free churches and whatever.

Speaking from an Anglican perspective, our local church has a range of service styles, from BCP early in the morning and midweek, through to full on Charismatic healing services (also usually midweek), and three differently styled services on a Sunday.

The theology is the same, the church team is the same, the teaching and the mission is the same, but there's a recognition that different people meet God in different ways. We have a silent service periodically, youth led services, and in the morning the sermon is repeated at two separate services; the first is with an extended "time of worship" with worship band, and the second a more traditional "hymn sandwich".

So don't assume that style of worship changes the theology underpinning the church. Take a look at the church's mission statement, chat to the vicar, go along and listen. Taste and see.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 01-Mar-16 12:15:54

Like others have said, 'evangelical' can cover a wide variety of theological and worship practices.

You mention Gateway, which is an American megachurch. It is theologically conservative (particularly in respect to homosexuality for example), charismatic (speaking in tongues, prophecy etc), modern style worship, big on people tithing. I'm not very keen on that style of church to be honest, and am very suspicious of the motivations. There's just too much money flying around in those organisations. Also worth pointing out that its founder, Robert Morris, has been very supportive of Mark Driscoll, who, if you don't know, led another megachurch but then left after concerns of bullying, financial impropriety etc. There can often be undertones of 'Health and Wealth'. It does appear very attractive though; it all seems so confident and full of life.

It depends what your theological position is, and what style of service appeals really.

NewChristian Tue 01-Mar-16 12:52:02

Thanks again for your help. Whatsthat - yes I did get that impression about Gateway. I found some of the sermons on there helpful - particularly the ones about the mind being in bondage and how to be free. Charismatic approach suits me but homophobia most certainly doesn't. If I lived in the US I doubt I would attend Gateway because I have heard various things which probably wouldn't sit too well with me. Apparently that church also preaches to tithe 10% or be damned. But also the founder gave the congregation a 'money back guarantee' which seems rather odd.

Camembertie Tue 01-Mar-16 13:07:54

I am recently to faith (4 years or so) and go to an evangelical CofE Church that suits me really well. The style of worship with band and extended periods of singing really helps me zone out from whatever I've got on my mind and just focus.

I am obviously not a theological expert by any means but the style at our Church is v pro-women (had a woman Associate Vicar) and liberal - but a large part of the congregation are DM brigade so whilst I agree with Vicar and his personal politics on the whole we are just asked to consider things prayerfully to avoid stepping on toes grin

It also helps it's a traditional Church with wooden pews too, I am not sure I could get on with a totally modern 'pop up' setting (shallow, moi?)

Camembertie Tue 01-Mar-16 13:10:37

Sorry - so the point is there is clearly a wide variation within the term evangelical, for me it's the style of worship and politics in that it's not all Book of Common Prayer (with definite influence from HTB) but more liberal re gay marriage etc

I would recommend having a look at churches websites nearby to see if any of them have sermon records you could have a listen to and see what you think?

RaisingSteam Tue 01-Mar-16 13:16:34

I think what you mean is charismatic style worship? i.e. modern, guitars etc.

Greenheart has summed it up well, but evangelical can mean quite a lot of things from really rather fundamentalist to just a decent Bible centred mainstream church of any denomination.

I just have my reservations about some of the big charismatic/new church groups that are actually very conservative but don't really display it - we ended up leaving one after getting to a brick wall about the role of women. They can also have a tendency to the really loud over emotional worship which can be manipulative.

Not all modern style churches are like this by a long way though and it would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater to say so. Some of them are brilliant fellowships and do lots of community projects etc which IMO is a key thing for a church.

There are Anglican churches that have a quite contemporary style, most cities will have one or two.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 01-Mar-16 13:53:36

'Open' evangelicalism might be the sort of thing you are talking about. It is particularly associated with the CofE. Other evangelicals who are very positive about gay people (i.e. completely happy with gay marriage for instance) include Steve Chalke, who is a pretty high profile baptist minister (and widely ostracised now from some evangelical circles).

For me though, I have two main requirements for a church:
- Acceptance that people will have different views, often passionately held, on certain topics.
- That there is accountability and openness of leadership, whether through congregational governance, or structures like the CofE.

And my issue with the megachurches is that they often fail on both counts, even though the music can be very good, and the preaching enthusiastic and helpful.

Mumarelli123 Tue 01-Mar-16 14:05:41

There are so many different Christian religions, so it is understandably confusing to choose the right one. But there is a way to make it easy!

The right Christian religion will follow Christ. And the only place to find out about Christ is from the Bible. So the right religion will follow the Bible closely. A detailed study of the Bible is the first step.

Just to illustrate - Jesus says at John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are my disciples - if you have love among yourselves" So Jesus wants the true religion to show love.

In regard to the evangelical aspect - Jesus says in the last few versus of Matthew: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations..."
So the right religion should be preaching in all the earth.

All the best!

Bolognese Tue 01-Mar-16 21:20:50

FYI: I am not religious but this thread epitomizes a question I am very curious about.

I am aware people believe in religion because their parents told them to. I am also aware people believe in a religion because a deity 'appeared' to them in a personal revelation. But I dont understand this sweetly shop idea where you shop around for a religion and pick a god that fits your personality, sensibilities, etc like its a hybrid pedigree dog fashion accessory.

Surely either you believe in a deity or you don't and you worship with the religion of the god that revealed itself to you or of your parents?

What am I missing, it seems to contradict beliefs?

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 01-Mar-16 21:42:05

Bolognese, we are not talking about different religions here. It is all still Christianity, with (for the most part) the same basic beliefs. People may disagree on some pretty big things like homosexuality or the role of women, but that doesn't mean they believe in a different God.

You do make a reasonable point about it being individualistic (which is a common accusation from Catholics/Orthodox against protestants) and it is very easy to try and twist things to be in your comfort zone.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 01-Mar-16 21:46:12

And just to add, there is no rule book explaining all these things. The nearest we have is the Bible which is a collection of books written over a very long period in a very different time, with numerous apparent contradictions. I'm comfortable with this messiness, it actually makes more sense to me than something resolutely coherent.

Bolognese Tue 01-Mar-16 22:02:48

whatsthatcomingoverthehil, so god reveals himself but never tells anyone what to believe or which christian god to believe in. Aren't there thousands of them with radical differences in them.

Why then does anyone follow any religion?

NewChristian Wed 02-Mar-16 00:39:05

Mumarelli - yes the main problem I have with my usual church is that the worship is not Bible centred enough. I have been well aware and very familiar with scripture for years and only recently I suddenly felt I understood it on another level.

NewChristian Wed 02-Mar-16 00:42:36

There aren't different Christian gods - the main theological points (such as the Trinity and salvation through the cross) are the same in all Christian churches although there are disagreements about certain aspects of doctrine.

Out2pasture Wed 02-Mar-16 01:04:17

Bolognais. You will probably get a million different answers as to why someone follows religion.
Personally I believe in the prophets being at a time and place that allowed them to form ideas on improving society. I find the teaching of Jesus to be reasonable. So I attend church to remind me to follow a kind and helpful path.

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