What to Expect in Quaker Meeting for Worship


Quakers believe that if you want to find out
what God has to say, you need to listen. And so we spend a lot of time listening in quiet
prayer. That quiet prayer time, which can happen anytime, anywhere, is the heart of
the Quaker religious experience. If you are going to go into Quaker Meeting
for the first time, first of all, congratulations. So you walk in, sit down, be quiet. What to
expect when you’re there, besides just “go with the flow” is different things depending
on where you are. Unlike some other churches, you don’t need
to dress up with suit and tie or a fancy dress. Most of the folks come in jeans, t-shirts,
or shorts/t-shirts. Whatever you’re comfortable in. So you’re thinking about coming to Meeting
and you have children. You really need to know that you have to bring them. They may
or may not enjoy themselves but we’re always so thrilled to have young people join us.
They come and they’re bringing their alive-ness and their love and their genuine-ness. So
please, yes, bring them. So if you come into this space and you’re
looking for images or words on the walls, some kind of direction, and you’re going
to notice that there isn’t going to be any there. From the very beginning of Quakerism,
its about the inside. So it’s about you not looking around you for that, but really
going inward for your own wisdom, for your own piece of the divine that’s been given
to you. Sometimes a worship room will look like a
really old building with benches that have been sat on by thousands of Quakers over hundreds
of years and sometimes it will look like the basement of another local church. Something that’s common to them is that
people often will enter already in silence, find a place in the room and sit down in silence.
Anyone coming into the room can sit anywhere, there’s not a right place or a wrong place
to sit. So before you go into Meeting for Worship
for the first time, I’ll tell you what I’ve always told my kids when they were little,
every week before we went in, which is just, “remember when you go in, to just sit down
and listen for God. God is here with us and this is a space to listen.” The first time I went to Quaker Meeting I
didn’t know how to listen. Because I had never listened in church before. I had to
work on that process of figuring out: what am I listening for? Am I listening to myself?
What’s going on? What is everyone else listening to and how does that affect the community
and me? So in that quiet-ness you walk in, you say,
“Ok, everyone is sitting there quietly, when are the directions going to come? What
am I going to do?” Just follow suit. Just sit down in that space. Just feel the
space and the people around you and open yourself as much as you can. Just continue to notice
how you can be aware of all that’s around you and all that’s within you, and how that’s
all connected to everybody else in the room. It’s called “unprogrammed worship” because
there’s no sermon, there’s no hymns, no Bible readings, no prayers written out ahead
of time. The whole idea of unprogrammed worship is to spend quiet time in prayer with our
hearts and minds open to God. If God has ever spoken, then God is still
speaking. And expecting God to move, through somebody… maybe through me, maybe not through
me, maybe just internally and the message is just for me, maybe one that needs to be
shared – and I think that is so provocative. It’s provocative to say, “there’s no
guidelines here!” I want to know what I’m expecting. And I don’t! I don’t know what
I’m expecting every Sunday, but I know that I’m expecting. Sometimes during that quiet time, people will
feel moved to speak. It might be just a couple of words or it might be several minutes. And
then there will be some more quiet time and then someone else will speak. They might continue
what the first person says or they might go in a different direction. We’ve had people dance a message, we’ve
had people walk a message, we’ve had people sing a message in addition to the usual standing
up and giving a verbal message. And it might just be like that for an hour.
And then, what to expect at the end? It’ll be like it’s just somehow, it just started
happening, everyone will start shaking hands. Which sort of signifies the changing from
the spiritual to the secular world of sorts And then we’ll all be aware that’s happening
and we’ll all follow suit, so all of this hand-shaking is going to happen and this greeting. Generally Quakers have a litany of announcements
of various activities that are going on, what protests we’re involved with this time around,
or good organizations to be a part of or what potlucks are happening, things like that.
And then, usually, Quakers gather for coffee, tea, catch up with each other, things how
things are going on throughout the week. Particularly when I’m new to a community,
I want to sneak in and sneak out again and I find that it’s a good discipline for me.
Often there’s this community-building conversation activity that happens after worship, which
is really an important part of the worship experience. Building connections with one
another that make the worship experience richer and deeper And that’s about it. That’s a Quaker Meeting
for Worship.

100 comments

  1. very nice , I went to quaker meeting in England for over a year .I stopped going  Now live in America and kind of  miss it . Here In  Arizona I have not found a meeting to attend . I still have my Red book , I will not part with that ever. I loved the quiet and the friendship .

  2. so quakers believe in Revelation too. That is still happens. Because if we believe God answers us we hear him through our minds our hearts that is revelation

  3. Is Quakerism kinda dull?.What about the god news about the kingdom to come .About God's plans for a new type of society and how we need to make those changes in us .Here there is no plan,nothing .just being half sleepy and half bored .

  4. how is this not like Buddhism? They have a rich literary tradition. what has happened? they were abolitionists, they were evangelists, they're nothing. just hippies who aren't high.

  5. mm. I don't know. The scriptures say that when you come together everyone of you has, a psalm, a teaching, a prophecy, a tongue, an interpretation etc. Hardly a silence. One can get plenty of that on their own. Seems a bit dead to me.

  6. Do some Quakers believe that their inner voice takes authority above the Word of God the Holy scriptures? Because if you do you are no better then the pagans and new age! The guide lines is the Word of God!!!

  7. THIS is very interesting. I never knew this about Quakers. This is very similar to the House Church movement and the way that meetings are handled. My interest has definitely been peaked.

  8. I read about George fox and what I see now it's totally different because he believes in Jesus Christ and relying on the holy Spirit it reminds me of the spiritual Baptist Church in Trinidad when I read about George fox and everything now people change he and naylar preach God's word so this I see is different because man change everything compare to back then

  9. i used to go to a friends school and every wednesday we would have meeting for worship and it was actually pretty comforting. people would stand up and say nice things and sometimes the whole school would have meeting for worship together and the pre-k kids always said something cute

  10. Pity that there are not millions of Quakers in the world. They are good open-minded people who are looking for wisdom.

  11. It seems like a beautiful religion , the love and acceptance, the simpleness and quietness, bit boring to me though and I don't know if quakers believe that Jesus is God (that is the most important thing to me personally, whatever lifestyle you then choose) but I do think too it's important too to be silent and listen to God, way too few churches really do even if they talk about it.

  12. Mormons in Utah, Baptists in the southern states, Pentecostals in the northern states, Quakers in Central states, Jehova's Witnesses and Amish in Pennsylvania. And Mainline Protestants in Eastern states.
    This is typical United States of America. A country full of wonderful forms of Christianity.

  13. Perhaps do a little history search on how the early Christians worshiped? ☺️ (Orthodox Church). There was a liturgy, they indeed had icons, just as we have photographs of loved ones, they had priests…If we are truly following Christ, shouldn't we listen and learn how he taught the Apostles to worship? ☺️

  14. What do people with social anxiety or ADD do to calm themselves? How do they make it through the meetings that seem mostly silent?

  15. The commission is to go to all nations and preach the gospel. Sitting in silence and listening for an epiphany can be dangerous. One might encounter a "brilliant" thought that is from none other than the devil himself. We are to watch and pray. By doing so we are able to test every spirit. We must meditate on the word of God. I warn those watching this video to pray for more guidance in choosing a bible based Christian church. Search "the Forerunner Chronicles 777" on youtube. He gives good advice. God bless!

  16. Just discovered this video from a Wikipedia link. As a Baptist, I decided to look into Quakers from a book I'm reading by Richard J. Foster ("a Christian theologian and author in the Quaker tradition") called "Celebration of Discipline." I was turned on to that book by the late Dallas Willard, an evangelical Southern Baptist minister/philosopher. According to the Wikipedia link, Quakers come in "all shapes and sizes." That is to say, there are liberal Quakers, conservative Quakers, anti-theist Quakers, evangelical Quakers, etc. I suspect that some of the people on this video are not the evangelical Quakers, if I understand the term right. So, if I understood this video correctly, the average Quaker church meeting entails coming in and "listening to God" in quietness. "Celebration of Discipline" calls this meditation, or maybe contemplation. It seems to me that meditation is something best done alone to help cut out any distractions. Also, how do you know you are hearing from God and not Satan, or just your own imagination? I know when I'm hearing from God if it lines up with what the Bible says. But then, I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and that it is "God breathed." According to Wikipedia, not all Quakers believe that — Liberal Quakers, for instance. Further, the early Church did not meet together in this way, from my understanding. They did not gather together and sit quietly. There was a teacher that taught them various things (Acts 11:26; 15:36) ; they sung hymns (Mark 14:26; Colossians 3:16); they prayed (Acts 1:14). Sometimes, as the Spirit led, they spoke in tongues, healed the sick/injured, and prophised. Moreover, Jesus commanded us to be baptized and to baptize others, if possible (Matthew 28:19). As we know by the thief on the cross, this isn't always possible. This is something that His apostles did as well (Acts 16:30-33; 1 Corinthians 1:14). From what I read in Wikipedia, Conservative Quakers, at least, do not practice water baptism.

    So, I'm trying to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. To that end I am seeking out the various disciplines that will help make that happen — meditation, for example. But some of the practices that some Quakers engage in are not Biblical, and not things that Jesus would do. Jesus Himself insisted on being baptized (Matthew 3:13-17). That speaks volumes. Jesus often went off by Himself to pray to the Father. Maybe we should do the same when meditating/contemplating? I don't know, it just seems to me that some of the Quaker teachings are not Biblical or things that Jesus would do. Thanks for the video. It was very informative.

  17. Beautiful ! Funny to notice the similarity we experience as we meet every week with 3/4 friends to meditate quietly for 40 minutes and enjoy sharing afterwards whatever comes in anyone's mind.

  18. This resonates with me greatly. Someone asked what is the point of going to church just to sit and be quiet…why not stay home and meditate? I think it takes more DISCIPLINE to be silent in a group…especially if you are a social butterfly in other settings.

  19. If you want to hear what God is saying, you open up the Holy Bible and read it. how about starting with Romans 7:18, and Proverbs 3:5.
    And btw, what exactly are you worshipping? Oh I see, yourselves. Repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

  20. How does this lead people to Jesus? They are just thinking and waiting to be judged. It is really ironic, all of that time sitting in church "waiting on God" possibly to end up with Jesus in front of them saying He never knew them!

  21. Most of the meeting could be spent just sitting there in silence looking at nothing in particular until someone feels inspired to say something. You might or might not not agree with what that the person says.

  22. So basically the Quakers were super powerful abolitionists who were some of the most important people in American history and now they're a bunch of new agey hippy weirdos lol

  23. I find it always interesting when I see drastically different behaviors of Christianity.
    Quakers remember that the God who speaks to you also invoked Leviticus 20:13
    "(ASV) And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
    Just for the record, I'm not cool with that. Or the slaves part also bad. …consider your choices carefully.

  24. My grandmothers family had deep roots in the North Carolina Quakers (Britt Family). They are usually good, hardworking, solid people, without all the frills or expectations that some religions have. Very accepting of everyone, never above or below anyone. You are taught that growing up, over and over and over. Most Quakers were anti-slavery and saw it as it was, an "evil".

  25. I couldn't worship like that. The Bible says "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" "praise God in the sanctuary " praise God with the timbrel and the harp" (it mentions many different instruments) it says " shout out to the Lord" "sing out to the Lord" dance to the lord. It does also say pick a quiet place and go pray. So I don't think that it's wrong to be quiet and listen for Gods direction But hundreds of times more it mentions joyful and exuberant worship. The Bible says we come to church to edify the body of Christ and to edify God and it also says we must hear preaching and teachings. Jesus taught his disciples only needed to know then he told the disciples to go out and teach people therefore the disciples taught the word of God so you need a preacher. The Bible also says many many times to worship and praise God. God bless all

  26. Hang on a minute! If Quakers follow the Bible…….Jesus preached, Paul preached, Peter preached…So what's your deal, huh? Yes, I am against all that man-made invented churchy ceremonial stuff, but saying no praise and no thanks to God??? Man, that's screwed up!!!

  27. I’m worried about attending a Quaker meeting because you have to be quiet. I have Tourette syndrome and shout uncontrollably, and I don’t want to feel as if I’m disrupting the meeting or making people uncomfortable. Can I go anyway? Are there ways to be involved without the meetings? I want to learn more and get involved, but I’m nervous that my disability might hold me back. Any suggestions? Would I be allowed to meetings?

  28. If you are having babies coming then HOW are you going to have that quiet time if the babies start crying, do you have then separate from the meeting> the bible also says that women are NOT to dress like men and visa versa so WHY was that woman wearing a tie and have clothes of a man ? and do you think that gays are acceptable to God ? Also there is no worship to take you into the glory at all? which helps you to hear Yeshua we spend quiet time with Abba at home, so you are saying that whatever you HEAR from Yeshua that you SHARE that word? NO HUGS or holy kisses on the cheek? hand shaking is NOT for family which is what the church should be not FORMAL shaking like a stranger? So how much time would you say that you spend in prayer? Also worship is singing NOT fellowship ???

  29. You brag about women in your congregation in pants lol
    That's abomination before God. So men can wear a dress lol
    Quak is what it sounds like

  30. God has given us his Word in the Holy Scriptures, if you want to hear from God, then you search the Holy Scriptures. Jesus said search the scriptures, in them you will have eternal life.

  31. All of the negative comments here make me want to be a Quaker. I mean, if everyone here is all mad at the Quakers, would I be on your blacklist too if I became one? Because I sorta really do want to be on that list.

  32. At 3:35, some ladies when sitting down contemplate not only their inward being to see God, but their outward surroundings as well. Contemplating not only what God says within, but also without.
    This is i good thing i believe, however, moments before we're told its not about the outward part at all, its only the inward parts that matter. Either its the inward alone, or its the both together. Im wondering which is the true Quaker teaching?

  33. I love Quakers and if I were a Christian, I'd follow it, but in every similar situation I've ever been in, there's inevitably some weird, neurotic loudmouth who overshares and ruins it for the rest. Wonder how they handle that.

  34. I was not very familiar with Quakers or what their worship service was like. I enjoyed watching this video and learning about what seems like a great group of believers and people in general.

  35. That's not a God ordained way of worship, it is pity that modern church goers fall into these type of traps so easily

  36. So quick question. What is the difference between being quiet with a bunch of people versus being quiet with just myself? Why not stay home, and then hang out with friends or family afterwards? I recognize the communal aspect afterwards, but that can be done truly anywhere.

  37. i took a few online quizzes, they said I should be a Quaker, after watching this. I think I am. never been a fan of gold and glitz. idols and rituals. prayer is communication between the self and God.

  38. There are different kinds of Quakers. Where I live most Quakers are of the evangelical variety. They have 10 or 15 minutes of silent worship but they also have sermons, hymns, and a hierarchy. It was okay for a while, but after an elder told me I should move to another country because I didn't agree with his conservative political views, I left. Now I practice this on my own every day.

  39. How can you possibly know without the word of God , ( the Bible ) is what you are listening to in your mind ? Surely this is just humanism. Very very far from the word of God.

  40. So, no bible study? No requirements of Jesus or baptism? Silent reflection or communing with the higher spirit sounds so much like what I believe should happen more than listening to a preacher. Then I read that Quakers were pacifists. Lost me right there. I do believe in fighting when necessary.

  41. This is every introvert's dream church. I grew up as a pentecostal and feel stressed with the hype, bright lights, monitors, sound systems. How can you possibly listen to anyone let alone God with all that over sensory chaos?

  42. Q: How many Quakers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: None – the meeting hasn't reached consensus about what kind of lightbulbs to use, the current lightbulb may not be aware of its whiteness, and the implications thereof; and there's also a committee being formed to discuss the lack of lightbulbs of color in the meetinghouse.

  43. Looked up info about modern Quakers after reading about it in AP U.S History. I’m honestly shocked by how much I love these ideas. It seems like something I would love to be a part of. Oops.

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