Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Alpha Lab at Beulah Alliance

 Saturday June 11 was Alpha Lab at Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton. Beulah is a fantastic Alpha church. They run over 30 Alpha's a year. The dynamo behind Alpha at Beulah is Angie LaFavor. If only we could clone her a few hundred times over. Angie and Beulah are always ready to jump to action on behalf of Alpha whenever they are called. Planning for this Lab day we initially started off thinking that 40 to 50 people would be a reasonable number. We would be happy with that. By the time Saturday rolled around, we had 160. Steve Mulder, Alpha Canada's Director of Ministries, and John Kreklo, National Prison Alpha Coordinator came from BC to help run the day, in addition to Angie, Amy Croy and myself. The day felt a bit long, lasting from 9 to 3, but over all it went fairly well. Feedback forms were generally positive, but with a few helpful comments on how we could improve things. We are all agreed that our Lab format is a work in progress and are continually tweaking things to make it as effective and enjoyable as possible.
Illustrated here is a little game I have invented called, "Hide the Bear." You may notice, over my last few posts, that whenever a banner featuring Bear Grylls is in the picture, his face is somehow obscured. So I have now challenged myself to find different ways to hide him. Here is Amy, who just happened to be carrying the big Alpha question mark across the front of the room when I snapped the picture. Pure coincidence of course.

Next event, after I finish doing the reporting and accounting for our recent fundraiser (see post below) is a 10 day vacation, hopefully relaxing in the hot sun. So wish me safe travels and a restful time.

Blessings,

John

OK, what's Next?

The reason for the title is that I have a few things to catch up with in my posting, and I had to pause to remember which one was next.
 
This was our latest fundraiser, An Evening of Fun and Entertainment. It was at the Chateau Louis Hotel Conference Centre. This time I wanted to help raise funds not only for my own ministry, but for that of Amy Croy, my close associate and Youth Associate for Alberta.
 
I must admit it was a challenge. I am not a great organizer, and often leave things until closer to the last minute than I should. My friend Steve does business with the hotel and so was able to get us a reasonable rate for dinner. The food and service, by the way, are first rate. We had about 80 seats sold, about half the number we had last time we did this, a year and a half ago. However, two tables that were sold neglected to show up, so we had way fewer attendees than we had hoped.
 
All that aside, the evening went very well and all those we talked to enjoyed it very much. Planning leading up to the evening was extremely hectic and worrysome. One by one our potential musical entertainment acts fell through. It was not until the very last week that a couple of acts, "fell into my lap," so to speak, and I'm convinced it was through much prayer that they did so. We also had stand-up comedian and local pastor, Dan Taylor. Although he had said he would be glad to help us weeks ago, apparently all my emails to him were sent to his spam folder, so as many times as I tried to contact him, I was never hearing back, and that got me worried as well. Finally, again in the final week, I was able to contact him and he confirmed he would be there.
 
So, things worked out from that perspective. I'm convinced, and this was my constant prayer during all the uncertainty in the days and weeks leading up to the event, that God will not allow Himself to be embarrassed publicly, as was my fear when things didn't seem to be coming together. I prayed that He would somehow redeem whatever mistakes I had made in planning the fundraiser and that through it all, His name would be glorified. In the end, I believe it was only through His grace that things worked out as well as they did.
 
Receipts were not nearly what they were a year and a half ago, but the evening was a success from an entertainment point of view, and more importantly, I'm trusting that a number of hearts were touched through our Alpha presentations. I also showed Episode 1 of the new Alpha Film Series, which turned out to be quite a hit.
 
Thanks be to God for rescuing me from my own mistakes and shortcomings and making this event the success it was.
 
Blessings,
 
John

Friday, 10 June 2016

CMA Assembly

It's been a bit of a hectic time lately, so time to catch up on my posting. The end of May and beginning of June saw the Assembly of Christian and Missionary Alliance delegates from across Canada, 1200 in all, gather at First Alliance in Calgary. I was there with Shaila Visser, Alpha Canada's National Director. What a wonderful week it was - filled with great conversations, encouraging stories, and potential new opportunities. The majority of guests with whom we spoke were familiar with Alpha, Alliance Churches being one of the main denominations to run Alpha, but still it was great to share about all the new resources and programs here and coming from Alpha. One of the highlights for me was to see Shaila, "work the room." The networking opportunities were numerous as it was, but Shaila manufactures her own skillfully. She seemed to know practically everyone there as it was, but many of those she didn't certainly knew her by the end of the conference.


Here is a shot of our booth, which was actually more of a space than a booth, but probably the best location of all - right beside a main entrance to the sanctuary.  Alpha is excited to have Bear Grylls lending us his name and brand for a Global Campaign beginning this September, but we can't show his image until then, so I make it a bit of a game to conceal his picture in all my posts. Here, a trio of delegates from Bramalea, Ontario, agreed to assist me with this strategic pose.

I may have mentioned this, but throughout my business life I have always disliked trade shows. Now, however, it's different. I really enjoy these events. The difference, I think, is that not only do I really love representing Alpha, I'm representing it to family; brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. I's not really work any more.

Next up is the fundraiser on Wednesday June 8. At the time of writing this, it is already in the past, but it's for another post.

Blessings,

John