mission shaped church
A story: St Alkmund's, Derby
St Alkmund's is an Anglican church in the Diocese of Derby.
Karen Hamblin is director of Youth and Children's Work. She
With hindsight I can identify five major factors that moved us
firmly in the direction of Cell:
A desire to see real discipleship and not just consumerism.
A longing to see new young people saved and discipled.
A knowledge that youth had more to give and the need to
find the right vehicle.
An urgent desire to stop the loss of youth from the church.
A desire to see prodigals returning.
We implemented Cell in September 1997. We felt that we had
found something that might have the answers to some of our
frustrations in that it would: build on the relational youth work
already established; fly in the face of consumerism; create
huge potential for evangelism and discipleship; allow young
people's giftings to be used and developed in a safe
environment . . . In order to develop all our relationships we
divided them into three groups, each with two adult leaders
meeting in different rooms in the church. Things improved
further when we moved out of the church into people's
homes, creating a far more intimate atmosphere.
Small groups meet weekly, in church members' homes on
Sunday afternoons and then come together to the evening
service. We currently have 6 small groups, 2 female and 4
male. Each has a core attendance of 5 6, with up to 8 on
each group's list. Once a month we come together as a youth
congregation (called Wired), in order to celebrate small group
life; all the small groups contribute to this time and have
major input in shaping and leading it.
Each cell has a leader and apprentice leader. This means the
group is able to multiply through a combination of evangelism
(we hope) and new youth moving in from the younger age
group. It also helps us cope with the older youth who leave for
university each year. However, it means that we are constantly
releasing and training new leaders.