Neighbourhood Church, a street front church in old downtown Medicine Hat. It is rather a new church on my radar, but already I've found a new friend. When I knew I was coming to Medicine Hat, I checked our records and saw this church of which I had not previously been aware, so I emailed to say I was going to be in town. Pastor Michael Fischer replied to say he would like to get together, so we arranged a meeting for between 10:30 and 11:00 this morning.
The first thing that came up that indicated Michael was an OK guy was that he loves Alpha. You can see the Alpha posters prominently displayed in the front windows. The second was that he came to Medicine Hat from Hamilton, which was basically my own home town. His church started Alpha last spring by running it on weekday noon hours right there in the downtown. Fantastic! This fall they have been running a Sunday evening Alpha. Plans are for the Marriage Course and more Alphas in the future.
Their church caters, if you like, to, "artsy and talented" people. As a result, Michael told me, they have an excellent worship ministry and have taken pains to have the best sound equipment possible. He has been told by one visitor that they had the loudest worship band he had ever heard. I think I would enjoy it there. One, "complaint" Michael had was one of which many churches might be envious; that he himself was, "nearly 40" and he was the oldest person there.
Once again, I volunteered to return to help with a training event for his Alpha team and he happily indicated that it might be a possibility. That's 3 or 4 possible dates from just this current trip, so, Lord willing, there may be another Southern Alberta trip in the cards.
On my way to my first appointment of the morning, right in the middle of the city, on a through street, I had to stop to allow a family of deer to cross in front of me. They just walked casually out into the road like they owned it. It reminded me, in a sense, of driving through a Wal-Mart parking lot. I caught this one on camera. He seems to be saying, "C'mon kids. Hurry up!"
So I'm now in Calgary, ready for more meetings tomorrow. I'm really happy with how this trip has gone, and I still have meetings to come with more of my key churches. I'm becoming more and more encouraged with the strategy of deepening relationships with key existing Alpha churches. Alpha has one purpose - to help local churches reach their communities with the saving and life-changing message of Jesus Christ, and to supply them with the tools to do so - all at no charge or, as I like to say, for the low, low cost of nothing at all.