Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What Has Alpha Done?

This is an Alpha, "look Back," which I find very
encouraging. Amazing things are happening all around the world. I am happy to be called to play my part in my corner of it.
This year promises to be another great year, with all sorts of things happening:

New Nicky Gumbel talks, free for download online with course registration;
New Alpha Film Series, aimed at the young adults, but probably will be loved by everyone, coming in April;
Global Advertising Campaign for 12 months with Bear Grylls beginning this fall.

Sign up here to be kept up to date on all of it.

I'm on my way down to Lethbridge for a one-day visit: a bit of a coffee time with area pastors and Shaila Visser, Alpha Canada's Natiional Director, then a television taping with Dick and Joan on Hope Television.

Then back to Edmonton for Break Forth, were we have an Alpha booth and I present a seminar on evangelism in today's world.

Once again, I would love your prayer-covering for my travels and for effectiveness in this ministry for as long as God can use me.



Thursday, 14 January 2016

Alpha at McDonalds in Grande Prairie, and Other Stuff

7-week Alpha with Jamie Haith in McDonald's - Grande Prairie Alberta
A brief trip to Grande Prairie. I stayed with my daughter and her husband (and my grandchildren). Therefore no accommodation expense, no (or very little) meal expense and no auto rental expense (I drove their pickup everywhere) so I treated myself to a plane ride up here to avoid the 5.5 hour drive on wintry roads.

My first visit was with the new Rector of Christchurch Anglican, Rev. Faariborz Khandani. He is familiar with Alpha, as was his board member, Dan, who was also in the meeting. They were enthusiastic to hear of all the exciting new resources, either newly released (Alpha with Nicky Gumbel), the upcoming Alpha Film Series and the Global Advertising Campaign with Bear Grylls coming this fall.

I also met with Pastor David Nesbitt of Christian Fellowship Assembly. CFA has been a very faithful Alpha church. Pastor David invited me to come back with an Alpha display and resource table for the national convention of his denomination, Fellowship of Christian Assemblies (yes, I have to pause a moment to sort out both names when used in the same paragraph), taking place at his church in early May. I will do my best to accommodate, perhaps fitting in an, "Alphalab," as we are calling our training days now, on the same trip, if enough local churches are interested, and I think they might be, because...

I also met with the Connections Pastor of Grande Prairie Alliance, Wes Dong and Church Multiplication Pastor Randy Boettcher. They are the ones who felt called to lead an Alpha in a local McDonalds, and I joined them there for their introductory evening. Turnout was a bit low, but they were not discouraged, and will double down on invitations for next week.

However, to cut to the chase, I'm hoping both GPA and CFA will take the lead in recruiting other churches and coordinating local promotion for the aforementioned Bear Grylls campaign in the fall. If that works, I'm hoping there may be up to a half dozen local churches running Alpha as part of that campaign and happy to have a day of training this May. Let's hope and pray.

I didn't make a lot of cold calls this trip, but one I did make was encouraging. It was to People's Church Connections Pastor Dave Knoepfli. This is the church my kids and grandkids go to, when they go, and Dave remembered and asked about them. I really do think Pastor Dave has the ability to remember the names of everyone he has ever met - a wonderful and very handy gift indeed. He was pleased and surprised that virtually all Alpha courses, including the new Nicky Gumbel Series and the upcoming Film Series for young adults are available for the low, low cost of NOTHING! I find many pastors are still surprised Alpha gives away virtually all our materials for free.

I'm writing this as I'm waiting for the time to leave the house for the airport - about another hour for my flight home. The flight is less than an hour, so it sure beats driving, especially now that I look our my window and see that it's snowing.



Saturday, 9 January 2016

Followup From Camrose

Camrose Community Church
I told you about my Camrose presentation in my previous post. The event was made possible by Shannon, Youth Pastor at Camrose Community Chuirch. After our presentation, she told this story to the gathering, which I had forgotten until now.

It was a couple of years ago, when the Alpha Youth Film Series had just been released. I was in Camrose making cold calls on churches.

Shannon was in her office, seeking God's guidance on what she could do with and for her youth group. "What resources," she prayed, "were out there that would be meaningful for her kids."

Within a half an hour, she says, I walked in to her office with this recently released film series.

She has run it both the following years and will run it again this year. Her youth group at the time consisted of about 12 kids from her church, but the first course, she told me, was attended by between 30 to 35 kids, and Alpha had a profound impact on a number of lives.

Just another story of another one of God's coincidences.



Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Camrose Ministerial

Youth Associate Amy Croy (note the new job title) and I travelled today to beautiful Camrose to make a presentation to that city's Ministerial. The presentation went well, in spite of the enemy's attempts to interfere. Here is how it went:

The agenda was set. The meeting was to begin at 11:30, starting with a brief devotional, then the taking of food orders, a bit more conversation, then lunch. After lunch I was to make my presentation, then Amy was to close with her story of Alpha's amazing success story at a Central Alberta First Nations' school. Then we would leave the group to carry on with the business section of their meeting agenda.

That was the plan.

So food orders were taken and conversation embarked on... and on... and on...

The chairman decided to go to, "Old Business," which they did, and covered it completely. More conversation... and more... and more

After about a half hour, it was suggested that I actually begin my presentation. My plan was to give a very brief overview of Alpha (when I began, I asked who all was familiar with Alpha - almost every hand went up.) So I spoke about Alpha as an idea, a story and a tool. I covered some of the new materials recently or about to be released, and emphasized the upcoming Global Advertising Campaign with Bear Grylls (pictured above) which is due to roll out around the world this coming fall.

That was my plan.

I had no sooner introduced myself and gone to the second slide of my Power Point than the first salad arrived. I jokingly thanked them for their time and said what a lovely time I had had speaking with them and sat down. But that was it. No more food. So I decided to get back up and finish my presentation. The food then kept arriving all during my address. I felt a bit hurried, but carried on nonetheless. I believe I held he audiences attention reasonably well, and I actually ended while the lasagna I had ordered was still at least lukewarm.

Long story short, the guests responded well, and there was interest in our returning and doing a more intensive training (what we are now calling an 'Alphalab' for a number of churches in town. There were a number of good contacts and encouraging responses that I don't have time or space to list here. Suffice it to say that we felt it had been a very fruitful time.

On the way back to Leduc, we decided to make a slight detour to Maskwacis, home to four First Nations bands and where I have been working to see the Alpha Youth Film Series presented.

I'm not sure I have posted regarding what may be called, 'challenges' in getting this ball rolling, but since my first meeting at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, I have had other meetings with other people there. There has been staff turnover and difficulty in actually pinning things down. So we, "dropped in" at the workplace of one of the women who were going to coordinate it.

Another long story short, we ended up helping her register her course, Amy was invited to church one Sunday to publicize it, and will actually attend at least the first session to help them get it off to a good start.

At the close of this day, I can only think that only God could have put it together the way He did.

So it was a pretty good day.