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.

Blessings,

John

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