ABSTRACT

Alternative worships groups began to form in the late 1980s in the UK and started to be established in Australia/New Zealand by the mid-1990s, emerging in the US, Canada and other parts of Europe from 2000 onwards (Collins, 2005). Alternative worship, a term coined in the 1990s, is used to refer to Christian activities in which participants express their Christian faith with certain aspects of popular culture, e.g. EDM and computerised visuals and special lightings that are common in EDMC. Alternative worship groups also have an agenda to engage with a contemporary culture where they refuse to ‘draw boundaries that determine who or what is in or out of God’s kingdom’ (Collins, 2005). It is said that over two hundred alternative worship groups operated in Britain at the turn of the twenty-fi rst century (Parry, 2000: 261) and that there are approximately fi fty alternative worship groups within the Church of England alone at the present time (Gibbs and Bolger, 2006: 39). There are approximately twenty-six North American alternative worship groups in a directory of alternative worship groups (Alternative Worship, 2002); nineteen in Australia and New Zealand (Alternative Worship, 2002). These groups are usually small in number and consist of no more than twenty-fi ve members due to the highly participatory nature of the groups (Gibbs and Bolger, 2006: 111). The main features of these groups will be surveyed and examined more closely later in this chapter.