Tribes: What are they?


Welcome to a new year of City Students blog. The heart behind this is to share our stories as the student community of the City Church for anyone to read and enjoy. We had great fun starting this last year – have a look at our library of articles to catch up.

With this being the first post of the year, let’s use it to announce something new.

For years, we have always done two things as City Students – the first is to host a Sunday student night called Pursuit, and the second is to create small groups for new students on the major campuses of Canterbury. Then, last year, we looked to do Sundays differently as a church, meaning Pursuit needed to move to a different day. We also changed our church small group model, so we had to adjust how we put on student small groups to fit in with that.

Seeing as we needed to change two things, we thought, “Hey – hows about we make Pursuit our small group night? Two-birds-and-one-stone type thing…”, and we were like, “Wow. Amazing. So good. Amazing. LET’S DO IT!”

So now, Pursuit on a Wednesday night is our student small group night. Through a healthy dose of fun, a time of worship, a short preach and then plenty of discussion time around tables, we are encouraging and challenging one another to become more like Jesus and pursue his presence.

But there’s a few too many of us to be called a small group. So we need to create smaller communities within Pursuit so students can begin to create deeper relationships and find a greater sense of belonging.

This is where Tribes come in. Tribes is our new name for student small groups.

There will be three tribes – Red, Yellow and Green. Whereas in the past our small groups have been based on what university you attend and what year of study you are in, we want to bring a greater diversity to our Tribes. We want there to be a mix of ages and years and universities and character types. This is how the church is supposed to be. Our church name comes from the picture in the book of Revelation of the New Jerusalem – a city made up of many nations and tribes and tongues all united by Christ. We want to have this in our Tribes.

To see this happen, the student team will place people into a Tribe. The student year is too short and moves too quickly – so by placing people into Tribes instead of waiting to join one, we will create a sense of belonging for many much quicker than we have before. We will always ensure we place people into Tribes carefully and thoughtfully – we want people to be with some people they already know, as well as with people they are yet to get to know. We will ensure there are leaders within each Tribe who have a heart to welcome anyone in and help them feel like they belong. It might sound a bit daunting at first and you might be worried about not being with friends, but our heart is to bring a sense of unity, not division.

We will use Tribes for our table discussions to help deepen spiritual relationships. We will organise Tribal socials that help you get to know each other better and have fun together. We want to have a bit of healthy competition between the Tribes – let’s have some Tribal Games during the year! (I can picture this at Summer Camp in June, for sure…)

How do you join one? Simple – sign up for Pursuit. By saying you want to be a part of Pursuit, you are saying you want to be a part our student small groups, so that means joining a Tribe. Even if you cannot make every Pursuit (especially if you do sports on a Wednesday), sign up, attend Pursuit when you can and be a part of a Tribe. Click the link below to sign up right now:


If you have any further questions or thoughts about Tribes, there’s no such thing as a silly question with this so please ask any of the student team and they will try to be as helpful as possible. We will let you everyone know which Tribe they are in very soon, we promise – let the Tribes begin!


About the Author

Sam Gardner is City Students leader and ID supervisor at the City Church, Canterbury and Whitstable. He is passionate about seeing young adults come to know Jesus and spend their lives following Him.

Sam loves his wife Andi, exercising, having dinner with friends and a good cup of tea in the morning.  


Sam GardnerThe City Church