Hello, I'm Rob! I've been a student at Alma Church for 5 years now. Initially I studied biochemistry and I'm back in Bristol doing medicine (I will finish studying and do a real job one day, I promise!). Here are some of my thoughts about Alma and why I go there.
My initial feeling on arriving at Alma was one of being welcome. People were fun and friendly, and the church always puts on tasty lunches for a month whilst new students are finding their feet. I'm talking curry here by the way, not simply jacket potatoes or cold quiche! As much as I like my food (and believe me I do!!) that is not the reason I continue to go to Alma. The main reason I go is that I believe we are a church who love God and are seeking to love Him more. We are committed to following Jesus and living our lives with and for Him. The life of the church reflects this and so the worship, preaching, kids and youth stuff, home groups and outreach are all aimed at helping us live our lives for God's Kingdom. There is an openness and honesty at Alma that acknowledges "I don't have it made", but at the same time says "I want to grow and be changed by God into the person He wants me to be."
Another great thing about Alma is that I've made some fantastic mates there! We have a laugh, play Frisbee and eat together a lot. Often there's lunches going on at church or you get an invite to someones home, but if not a bunch of us students usually get together at someone's house for food after church, so you can almost guarantee a sociable lunch somewhere! There's a good bunch of students who come along and we're encouraged to get involved with the life of the church in whatever ways we want, be that playing an instrument in the worship band, helping with youth church, or getting involved with a home group (to name a few). There aren't specific student groups at Alma, because we're all part of a big family there and it's good to rub shoulders with people of different ages, hence why I and other students go to home groups.
I'm guessing if you're reading this, you're a student looking for a church in Bristol? From experience I can tell you you'd be very welcome at Alma, but wherever you go I hope God blesses you as you live life to the full in Him.
I grew up going to the same church that my parents attended and so had never considered what sort of church I wanted to go to. During my first term at Uni the Christian Union put on a 'church search', where people would take you to their church and explain a bit about what happens there. Not being sure of what I wanted from a church, and being rubbish at making decisions, I visited a large number of churches and ended up going to Woodlands Christian Centre (Woodies) for my first year. Despite being a fantastic church, it has a huge congregation and I never really got involved with anything and didn't get to know very many people. As a result, at the start of my second year I decided to look for a new church that was a bit smaller, where I could feel part of the church. I knew a few other people who went to Alma and decided to try it out and loved it so much I have stayed ever since, and have now been going for two years.
The main thing about Alma is that it is a real family, with everyone looking out for each other, and helping them to grow in their walk with God. Students are really encouraged to get involved with the church as a whole from helping with music or youth groups to being part of a home group, helping out with the teas and coffees, and getting involved with outreach events. Because of this, there aren't many formal student events or groups (apart from lunches every now and then, which are amazing!), but this is great as you get to meet some really wise Christians who you can learn so much from, as well as helping encourage the next generation through the various youth groups.
If you decide to visit Alma then expect to find Christians who are open to discussing their faith and encouraging each other as they try to live life for Jesus. Please feel free to introduce yourself to someone on a Sunday morning and get involved with a group of people trying to live life as God intended.
There are times in our lives, when we feel the need for something more - not just at the difficult times; if you are wondering about God, then click here
Alma is a lively, informal and friendly church in the heart of Clifton, where everyone is valued. Find out more
At Alma, we believe in a God who cares for us and who calls us to care for each other. Read More