XY Church

Wednesday, 1 October, 2008

Ben Norton, who appears on the Fresh Expressions DVD, on the edge, traces the history of XY lads' church in Bridlington.

The idea started back in September 2007 when I was thinking about what it meant to be an ordained pioneer minster and how that was going to work out in Bridlington. So I made lots of contacts with people in the town - but most of them seemed to be with blokes my age. So I began looking into how we could begin to reach them with the gospel.

I met with two other guys in my church to think about creating some events. The first event we had was a curry night at the church, which was really well attended. The month later we held a pizza night, again in the church. The atmosphere was laid back and relaxed and the idea was just to get to know the guys better. We continued to run events like, paint-balling and we also had a meat and beer night.

The momentum quickly grew and we had about 20 lads that we got to know really well. We began thinking about how we could develop the relationships and how we could engage with the gospel. We came up with the idea of meeting weekly in a pub and having a discussion based around the Bible.

So I began printing off a flier with some Scripture and some questions. The idea and the structure of the night worked well and we soon got a small group of five or six lads every week. But we began to find that starting the conversation with Scripture put some people off.

So we changed the format to picking an item from the news and basing the discussion around that with some faith-based questions and relevant Scriptures. This has worked really well. And, a few months in, we had a core of about ten lads who came every week, and about 30 who came to our events.

Over the last 18 months we have continued to make contact with more lads and things are going well. 'Where next?' is the huge question that we are looking at and praying about. I would love to see us develop into our own church that has a Eucharistic focus. But how we get there is another question! However, it is a hugely exciting part of the journey.

The most compelling thing about all we are doing is that we are meeting men who are interested in the issues we look at from a faith perspective, and how this changes their world view. One guy who came recently said: 'I don't do religion but this is really good!'.

I believe very strongly that as the church we need to go and meet people exactly where they are at, and allow them to see that we value their thoughts and ideas. We want to live a life that says: 'Have you thought about life the way that Jesus did?'

Updates to, and learning points from, this story

Monday, 17 December, 2012 On Demand clip

Ben Norton, Fresh Expressions Associate Missioner and founder of xy church, tells how the 'lads' church' has developed since he left.

Monday, 11 October, 2010

XY Church started three years ago as a developing community of spiritual travellers. Pioneer Minister Ben Norton gives an update on what has happened to the lads' church meeting in a pub every week.

Wednesday, 1 October, 2008 On Demand clip

Ben Norton updates us on XY lad's church in Bridlington.