Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Thriving Metropolis of Clive

Or rather, the pretty village of Clive, Alberta.
 
Clive Baptist Church
I first heard about Clive Baptist Church from the folks at First Baptist Church in Ponoka when I visited there. First Baptist seemed to be the most thriving church in Ponoka. They ran Alpha.

So on my trip to Stettler today, I made a slight detour to the village of Clive, pop. approximately 700, if everyone is home. Clive is basically in the middle of nowhere, and I say that in love.

This is Clive Baptist Church. They just completed a brand new addition - a sanctuary that seats, I'd guess, up to 300. In a village of 700.

They're an Alpha church.

Go figure.

Blessings,

John

Thursday, 21 May 2015

How Did I Find Scotland?

As you know, Eva and I recently attended Alpha's Leadership Conference at Holy Trinity Brompton in London England, then, thanks to Air Miles, Wyndham Rewards points and Enterprise Car Rental points, visited Oxford, then Edinburgh.

After our return, a friend from church asked, "How did you find Scotland?"

"Easy," I said, "Just headed north on the M6 and there it was!" (Ba dump chhh)

For anyone interest, and with a few hours of extra time, here are the talks, both plenary sessions and seminars, from the conference.

Blessings,

John

Fast Blast to Calgary

I picked up my rental car at Enterprise at 8 this morning and headed down to Calgary for a 2 hour lunchtime meeting and a few church calls in the afternoon. The trip down was fairly smooth, except for a stretch of about 15 minutes behind a very dusty SUV with the message, "Bound for Tennessee" scrawled in the dust on the rear window.

This fellow was driving in the passing lane, neck and neck, at about 109 km/hr beside another car in the slow lane, and no amount of light-flashing would either speed him up or move him over. Arrgh!

But I made my meeting on time. It was at the CMA (better known perhaps as the alliance Church) head office on the grounds of Ambrose University. The meeting was not specifically Alpha related, but more of a get together of church planters looking for buildings on the one hand, and representatives of denominations finding they had church buildings for sale or at least available. My purpose, Alpha-wise, was to make connections with churches, whether ones being planted, growing, or looking to find ways to grow (or regrow), and to make myself available to help them use Alpha as part of that process.

I made a few other church calls, then headed back home, arriving back at Enterprise before 6:00. I walked into their office and it was just as if I had been gone about 5 minutes. Everyone who was there in the morning was still there. They were all in the same place, but I had driven about 700 kilometres.

It just seemed weird.

Blessings,

John

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Millenial Evangelization

Just a thought:

The key to evangelization in this current generation is to engage in a narrative, not to hold up authority; to discuss, not lecture. Scripture can be used in two ways. We can confront with, "This is what the Bible says!" Or we can engage, with, "This is what the Bible says. What do you think?"

This is exactly what Alpha, done properly, does.

Blessings,

John

Sunday, 10 May 2015

LC15 - An Experience, An Encouragement, A Blessing

 
Eva and I attended Alpha's Global Week and Leadership Conference this past week. I must apologize for not posting anything on it until now. There were many highlights, aside from just being in London with so many friends.
  • Worshipping at Holy Trinity Brompton |(HTB), where the Alpha course began, is amazing in itself. Hearing and seeing Nicky Gumbel teach live is a wonderful bonus.
  •  Meeting and networking with so many fellow, "Alphaholics" was great. There were well over a hundred delegates from Canada, representing Alliance, Baptist, Catholic and many other denominations; all the way to a half-dozen from a United church in Bramalea, Ontario. A number of Canadian Catholic bishops were there. I hope they caught the Alpha bug and can see how Alpha can help rejuvenate their parishes.
  • Seminars were great, especially one on Prayer and Worship, and one on Prioritizing the Poor. From this latter I learned what I think is a valuable ministry leadership byword:
    "Nobody should be trying to do everything, but everyone should be doing something."
  • The central focus of the conference was the unity of the Church, and a wonderful manifestation of this unity, desired by all, was the presence of a Catholic cardinal and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury sharing on stage together and professing a mutual trust for one another.
  • Friday evening, before the conference actually started, Eva and I, along with Amy Croy, Youth Coach for Alpha in Alberta, happened to visit St Paul's Cathedral just in time for Evensong with a homily and a sung Eucharist.
Nicky gave us a new vision for Alpha:
  1. Evangelization of the Nations
  2. Revitalization of the Church
  3. Transformation of Society
Adding # 2 as an additional stratum between 1 and 3; one step leading to, and necessary for, the next.
 
I mentioned the term, Alphaholics," a kind of pet name for those of us who are so in love with Alpha as a tool for evangelization. Eva coined another term, I think because of the three of us |(her, myself and Amy). She called us the Three Alphateers.
 
I thought it was funny, but quite appropriate. We'll be on our way back home at the end of this week, encouraged and envisioned and ready to get back to work in Alberta again.
 
Blessings,
 
John