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Home » Circles » Circles for Youth/242

Circles for Youth/242

Circles is our new strategy at The Forge; and that includes 242 too! Circles reflects our values of intimacy with God, community with insiders and influence of outsiders. Simply put, Circles is all about discipleship, community and evangelism. And in that way 242 is ahead of the game… Our continuing passion of creating a congregation that reflects our Acts 2:42 vision is well suited to the circle model.

As a 242 team we asked ‘how can we improve our relationship with God, be open and honest with one another and not lose sight of our role in the wider Church and to the wider world?’ That’s where Circles comes in – because we believe that life transformation happens best when we experience community in circles not rows. The adults are only just getting this but we’ve been modeling it for years! We have the opportunity to grow in our spiritual lives, to connect and positively influence our friends both locally and globally – and we’re really excited about what this change might bring.


So what does ‘Circles’ at 242 look like?

We’ve created four different environments to help us. These are the same as the adult & kids congregations but tailored to best suit us as young people and the 242 team.

  • 10 Month Groups
  • Serving Teams
  • Running Mates
  • Short Term Groups

You may be familiar with some of the names, others may be new. Either way, we’ll tell you about each Circle and step you through both what’s on offer and how to get connected AND answer some of the FAQ’s.



These are similar to our current small groups with community, growth and intimacy at the heart.  The leaders will take you through study material designed to deepen our understanding of each other whilst fostering intimacy with God. At the start of each year we will try to work out ‘where we are now’ and ‘where we want to get to’. Of course we will also have Group socials just for fun and friendship!

Our hope is that these 10 Month Groups (from July to September) reflect the diversity of individuals within 242, within a flexible framework so you can identify and attend a group that best fits you. First step is to find a way to get connected and then commit to a group, grow and explore together. From Sept 2016 we aim to have a group meeting in Thurston, one in Stowmarket and one around Debenham. Clear launch dates allow us to promote and encourage sign-up by everyone in 242, helping everyone who wants to connect find to a group to join. The time-limited approach also provides the prospect of launching new groups with identified apprenticed new leaders.

Individual circumstances have a habit of changing with factors both in and outside of our control. Whether it’s to do with our school work, friendships, other evening activities, jobs, when mum or dad is free to drive us there (!) … These circumstances and events can change what we want out of a group, and how much we can commit. A 10 month life-cycle allows you to find a group that matches your current circumstances, needs, wants and preferences. If your circumstances change or you just want to experience an alternative group you can!

What is going to happen to existing small groups?
Existing groups will run until the summer term in July 2016, like they always have. New groups will be launched from July to September with sign-up happening online and at 242 events. Simply find the group you want to be with and sign-up.

Can I bring/stay with my friends ?
What sits at the heart of 10 month Groups is the hope that people find and form relationships. Relationships that encourage, support, community and growth. We aren’t in the business of splitting people up. We simply want to create more opportunities for as many people to connect in, sign-up, and get to know as many people in their location as they’d like. Of course you can stay with your friends. Simply find a group and sign-up together. It’s best if you do it all at the same time to guarantee you all get spaces in the group of your choice. At 242 we love it when your friends come along; and we know for some of you its been the best way to introduce them to 242 and your faith. That’s why all groups will have some flexibility in them for one-off visitors and for a school friend to come along and join.

How will I join a group?
There will be a clear launch date in July. You can then go to our Forge 242 website, view the available groups – including details on leaders, dates, locations, times and style. You can sign-up online or if you’d prefer, you can sign up at our Sunday 242.

Each group will have a maximum number that it can take. So get in quick with your friends! Each group will have a ‘best fit’ number that can sign-up (defined by the group leaders & venue) We will have flexibility so everyone in 242 gets a chance to join a group but also we can’t have one group with 20 people in and another with none ?! If the group is full, take a look at the other groups available and see if another is a good match for you and your friends.

Are groups location specific?
Yes, in the sense that it will meet in one place at the same time each week. If you mean “Can Thurston people only attend the Thurston group ?” then no. We know that you as young people have friendships that stretch across both sites and further afield. So commit yourself to wherever suits you best. Of course, people can attend any group they’d like, but if building relationships is at the heart of groups, then it will be best, and have a longer term impact for you, your sense of community, and your sense of belonging if you are in a group with people from your location.

What about Deeper ?
Deeper will continue and will effect be another 10 month group option following the same vision and guidelines as other groups. We will have 2 groups, one in or around Thurston and one in or around Debenham, We will continue to have 2 leaders per group to deliver the teaching and challenge us to move deeper with God. This is teaching aimed at YR.11+ The difference will be that we will be encouraging the upper age group to be thinking about joining the adult 10 Month Groups system.


Would you love to be part of a team who together make The Forge what it really is?
The Forge Serving Teams play a pivotal role in the life of The Forge and we literally couldn’t operate without them. From mid-week groups to community projects as well as delivery of our kid’s, youth and adult Sunday services. There’s technology teams, drama, art as well as community projects, so there are loads of opportunities to match you and your skills to the right team; using your skills and maybe learning some new ones too!

As young people you have LOADS to offer the wider church. You are not ‘just the Church of tomorrow’ but a full and active part of the Church today. Being part of a Serving Team is so much more than just fulfilling a task – it’s a place to connect with others, build relationships and work in partnership with a shared ambition. With Circle time as an intrinsic part of every team’s life, you will find yourself able to be known and get to know others to pray with and support each other. For more information, visit: or talk to a 242 leader who can point you in the right direction.


Do you want to grow stronger in your faith & dig deeper into life with close friends?
If you do, Running Mates is a place to share the highs, the lows and challenges we all face in life. It’s not about actually running together (unless you want to!) A more intimate environment, with a few trusted friends of the same gender, Running Mates is designed to provide growth opportunities, to learn, share and pray. With support, encouragement and accountability, the focus is on helping each other to be the people Jesus made us to be as you share your joys and heart-aches, hopes and successes, ambitions and struggles. Running Mates is just a posh name for close friends, and we want you to have them!

242 leaders don’t run them, we don’t administer them, we don’t provide material for them – it’s down to you! Of course we’ll support you in them but you’re the driving force. So how do I find a Running Mates group? We can’t push you together with people we can’t ‘find friends’ for you. You do it. You pray, you invite 2 or 3 people you really connect with to become Running Mates. And you

Does Running Mates replace 1:1 meet ups with leaders ?
No! The 242 leaders are always there for you. You wanna’ meet with a leader for a coffee and chat ? Just ask them and they will. They are happy to talk through anything with you guys and help you find solutions. If you want help with discipleship or mentoring just ask and we can try to help.


What environments are you putting yourself in, to help get to know others and go deeper?
Every September, January & April The Forge and 242 will run a range of 4-12 week Short Term Groups. These might be courses on relevant subjects – some designed for the whole Church and some will be just for 242. Maybe you’re going on a mission trip ? the team will become a Short Term Group who can support each other through a common goal or experience. Or it may be a Short Term Group which operates more like the 10 month groups.

Anyone can join a Short Term Group. With a variety of different topics, styles, and venues available, this is a great way to connect in, get to know others and go deeper beyond a Sunday. So if you want to connect in and know more, aren’t yet ready for a 10 month commitment, or have missed the July to September group sign-up, or want to know more about a specific subject, then Short Term Groups are for you.



And as time goes on all four of these circles will grow and develop so get involved, because “…life is better connected!”

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