(Mainly for sociologists)
The Jesus Fellowship (or Jesus Army) has been studied by some sociologists as a new “Religious Movement”, largely because it is a relatively new church. Although “New religious Movement” is sometimes loosely used as a synonym for “cult”, the Jesus Army is an orthodox evangelical Christian church, upholding the universally-accepted creeds of the Christian faith: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. It is linked with other Christian churches and groups through the Multiply Christian Network, and is a member of the mainstream Evangelical Alliance UK.
The Jesus Fellowship Church has grown out of the old-established Baptist Church in the village of Bugbrooke near Northampton in the period since 1969. The Jesus Army is the gospel and social outreach identity of the Church.
The Jesus Fellowship Church fits within the pattern of charismatic (or neo-pentecostal) “New Churches” or “House churches” that have sprung up in the UK since the mid twentieth century. A number of statistics concerning this type of church in general and the Jesus Fellowship Church in particular may be found in the UK Christian Handbook.
In common with other Christian churches, the Jesus Fellowship offers the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, the experience of new life in the Holy Spirit, the reality of a brotherhood church where new believers can find their place, and a cause to stand for. In particular it reaches the disadvantaged, including homeless people, those involved in drugs, and prisoners and ex-prisoners. Because a substantial minority of the Church has embraced a lifestyle of Christian community, it is particularly well-placed to offer both practical and spiritual help to those in need.
Initial contact with the church is normally through personal contact and friendships which may lead to an invitation to Christian worship meetings, which are open to all. Some of those who come to meetings may eventually join the Jesus Fellowship Church, but obviously the vast majority do not.
Jesus Army: Cult or radical Christian Church? (expanded version)