Our Purpose

To Go and Grow and Love and Serve our World.

Our Vision

For people to Know God, Find Freedom, Discover their Purpose and Make a Difference.


Our Lead Pastor

Kristian Thorpe


Originally joining Arena Church in 2000, Kristian has led the church since 2007. In this time the church has dramatically changed, actively engaging in the community and becoming fully relevant to modern lives whilst developing a pioneering vision.

Kristian has been married to Caroline since 1992 and they have 4 children. He is a passionate supporter of Liverpool FC and Miami Heat, and his heroes include General William Booth and Kenny Dalglish. His other interests include jazz music, spicy foods, and sunshine holidays.

He loves life, loves the church, and believes in teamwork.

Our Church Leadership

Arena Church has a Triangular Leadership Foundation made up principally of 3 groups:-

Directed by a Senior Leadership Team – This team led by the Lead Pastor brings Directional Spiritual, Vision and Strategy to the whole of Arena Church.
Guided by Campus Pastors – The Campus Pastors and their localised Team bring a “grass roots” Pastoral and Outreach lead to each location. This team “care for and shepherd” the individual campuses and “reach out and serve” their geographical location.
Protected by Trustees – The board of trustees bring their considerable marketplace wisdom, skills and expertise to appropriate; legal and financial governance to Arena Church

The last part of our Leadership foundation is found in external Ministries and Ministers:-
We are Strengthened by Apostles –
The Senior Leadership, Campus Pastors and Board of Trustee teams of Arena Church recognise the need for proven Apostolic gift input into the church. These relationships add weight, security, wisdom and strength to Arena Church as a whole.

What We Believe

We believe in one eternal God who is entirely limitless and exists in three distinct and equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The only way to achieve salvation is to trust and believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our purpose is to spread God’s salvation message to the whole world and to help each other grow spiritually.

Our Church Story

Founded in 1929, Arena Church Ilkeston has been pioneered and guided by many faithful leaders. Our Lead Pastor, Kristian Thorpe, arrived along with his family in February 2000. We operate with a clear vision to “Go & Grow and Love & Serve the World”, engaging with people across the community through our campuses with life-giving messages and passionate praise in multi-generational and multicultural services, helping new people to find Jesus every week.

We plant and repurpose new churches both locally and further afield. Hundreds of people serve on our Dream Teams, impacting and serving thousands of people every month throughout local communities. We have outstanding connections with local charities, business owners, Government leaders, MPs and the Police. Everybody is somebody at Arena Church, and all are welcome to connect through our Small Groups, where strong relationships are formed and discipleship is nurtured.

Come and see how exciting and vibrant church can be when the focus is clear and people are free to seek God with passion.