alive and kicking - from the archive Dec08

Monday, 1 December, 2008

Rachel Matthews speaks to Ben Clymo, Peter Clarke and others at the annual weekend away of alive and kicking, a fresh expression for young people in Kinver, Staffordshire.

Duration: 3:51   | Download Download mp3

Transcript

Introducer: alive and kicking is a vibrant fresh expression for young people and a joint initiative of the churches in Kinver in South Staffordshire. Rachel Matthews joined them on their annual weekend away and spoke to one of their leaders, Ben Clymo.

Ben Clymo: alive and kicking is a group for young people of high school age, it's a Christian group although not everyone who comes along is a Christian, and for those young people who do come along it is their church.

Young person's voice 1: I brought a friend with me this year and she's come from like a Christian family but she's never really been to church, so I decided I'd invite her along to here so that she can just see what she thinks of it. She liked it, so she's going to come again.

Ben Clymo: Every year we run a weekend for the young people, we call it akwa – which is the alive and kicking weekend away – and we bring away the young people for the weekend in the countryside somewhere at a residential centre, and just for a weekend of focused teaching and getting to know each other. And our hope for those who come is very simple and it's that they get to know Jesus.

[Peter Clarke: ak is amazing, it's changed so much over the years…]

Peter Clarke: Back in 1991 we had a mission in the church at Kinver which was run by one of the Rob Frost organisations called Share Jesus, really good, great interaction with the local young people, and we decided out of that to create an ongoing Sunday evening do called alive and kicking. It allowed us to have a safe space where youngsters could come and discover the faith and just have a good time as well.

Interviewer: Minister Peter Clarke founded alive and kicking and joined us on the weekend away.

Peter Clarke: Gradually as young people came through we found that there were folk coming back who then had the energy and the vitality to take it on to a new things and it's just kind of exploded since then into what is now ak, and a fantastic ministry.

Young person's voice 1: Well we've been studying the body of Christ and we've also done workshops, which is like drama, media, dance, puppets and some others as well. It's a more chilled out way to learn about faith and God.

Ben Clymo: As alive and kicking has grown, we've found that it's outstripped its structures as it were, and it's got bigger than just a few people meeting in someone's living room, so we eventually got to the stage where we had to set up a charity and we've now got to the size where we need to employ a full-time youth pastor to cope with the work.

[Female voice 1: What's been the most fun thing at akwa so far?

Young person's voice 2: The frisbee.

Young person's voice 3: I liked the race where you got to put all the stuff on.]

Ben Clymo: We've had young people come from all sorts of backgrounds, from Christian homes, non-Christian homes, in particular we've had young people who've come along very antagonistic, very anti-Christian almost, what alive and kicking was able to offer them was a safe space where they could come and really explore the issues around faith and around what that meant to them, in a way where they wouldn't be judged, they wouldn't be shouted down. And to see them give their lives to Jesus has been the most amazing experience.

Peter Clarke: I think perseverance is really very important, because I think with any fresh expression you're kind of taking a risk and sometimes you have to put yourself in where God is wanting you to be, just joining in with what he's giving you, and being open to allowing new people to come in at the right time so that they can then take it on to the next stage. And I think that's been a key thing in allowing the group to flourish, because I don't think anybody who was involved in the initial running of it is now involved because it's been lovely to let go for other people to take it on. And today to come and just share in this weekend with them is lovely, because I see something that has grown from a real infancy into something very very exciting.

Introducer: Peter Clarke ending that report.

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