Faith-based social action below the radar: a study of the UK charismatic-evangelical urban church
Wier, Andy (2014)


This article presents the findings of a study of an under-researched type of faith group whose activities in socially and economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods have often fallen ‘below the radar’ in previous studies of faith-based social action. UK charismatic-evangelical churches
are presented as a type of church that, while historically suburban, has begun to significantly engage with deprived urban areas over the past two decades. Drawing on a recent qualitative study, the article suggests that the experience of charismatic-evangelical churches challenges established
understandings of faith-based social action in two significant regards. The first concerns the coexistence of two contrasting modes of operation – ‘service provider’ and ‘intentional community’. The second concerns the evangelistic or conversion-oriented intentions that charismatic-evangelical
churches bring to social action. These findings cast fresh light on the changing face of UK faith-based social action and raise challenging questions for faith groups’ engagement with wider public policy agendas.


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