Except I'm back from southern Alberta and I didn't have to sleep in a chuckwagon. Every meeting I listed on my previous post, below, went extremely well.
I don't know if I've ever revealed Alpha's current strategy for the province, but here we go;
In 2012 there were 61 churches running Alphas in Alberta. With the big initiative in 2013 that figure jumped to over 300, and that number has been basically maintained since. So the thinking is that most churches have either run Alpha or heard about it, so there is not that urgency to be constantly seeking out new churches. In other words, I haven't spent a lot of my time making cold calls on new churches. Instead, my focus is on developing relationships with current key churches, helping the run their own Alphas with excellence and finding out how we as a ministry can serve them better.
To that end, I feel I had some really meaningful conversations. I recently had what I consider to be a bit of a revelation. I don't know if I can explain it adequately, but essentially it is this:
We often think of evangelism in a larger scale, at least I have. We may think of evangelizing the nation, or in my case, the Province. But evangelizing starts locally. Each pastor I speak with may not be thinking of reaching the nation or the province, but reaching his own corner of the larger territory. So my conversations are about, "What's happening in your town/city/neighbourhood? Tell me about your own church, your own team, your own efforts, your own successes, your own challenges." All these things are often even before we talk about Alpha, because, truth be told, a pastor may indeed be more concerned with these than specifically about Alpha. Alpha in my opinion is the number one resource for outreach to any community, so I don't need to worry about the subject eventually coming around to it.
As much as I enjoyed each of my meetings, the highlight was perhaps my last one - with Aaron, who is n Youth Ministry at Lethbridge E-Free, one of the larger churches in that city. He ministers to about 75 or 80 kids, many of whom are from outside the church. They have used our Youth Film Series successfully in the past, and are going to run our new Youth Series in the fall. Aaron is looking forward to its release this October and thinks it will be perfect for his charges. I mentioned to him about the opportunities to encourage his kids to run Alpha in their schools and it was a concept he hadn't previously considered, but the seed has been planted. Already, a young woman from University Drive Alliance (another church on my itinerary) is doing just that in her own school.
Well, that's it. Rather a sudden conclusion but the only other things of note were rather ho-hum, ordinary things - a severe thunder and hail storm around Okotoks, and a traffic jam on the Deerfoot Trail through Calgary.
Nothing else to report.