Hello friends. It has been a few days since I last wrote, and I thought it pertinent to fill you in the most recent occurrences in respect to ministry and vocation. As many may have previously seen on the blog, I was offered a position/role within the Alpha USA organization. In specific, I was (as of Monday) appointed the Regional Director for Northern New Jersey as well as Rockland County in New York. In the interim, I will be touching base periodically and assisting with Central New Jersey (to the south) and Orange County, NY (to the north). The latter two are secondary to my main territory which will be North NJ and Rockland County.
As mentioned previously, the Alpha Course was designed as an evangelism tool crafted to reach the countless “seekers” in the UK that were asking questions they wanted answers to. In essence, Alpha is an opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. The Alpha course usually meets once per week for 10 weeks, and includes an amazing one-day or weekend getaway. Each session, people enjoy great food, laughter and learning in a fun and friendly atmosphere where no question about life or God is seen as too simple or too hostile…questions like—Is there a God? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?
Each gathering begins with a meal or refreshments – a chance to get to know others. Then there is a short talk which looks at a different aspect of the Christian faith each week. This is followed by a time of discussion in small groups, where everyone is welcome to contribute their opinion and ask questions. People usually stay in the same small groups for the duration of the course so they can get to know each other, continue discussions and deepen friendships. The emphasis is upon exploration and discovery in a relaxed and informal environment.
The talks each week cover the following topics, acting as a springboard for the small group discussions:
|Introduction Dinner:||Is there more to life than this?|
|Week 1:||Who is Jesus?|
|Week 2:||Why did Jesus die?|
|Week 3:||How can we have faith?|
|Week 4:||Why and how do I pray?|
|Week 5:||Why and how should I read the Bible?|
|Week 6:||How does God guide us?|
|Week 7:||How can I resist evil?|
|Week 8:||Why & how should we tell others?|
|Week 9:||Does God heal today?|
|Week 10:||What about the Church?|
|Weekend:||Who is the Holy Spirit?|
|What does the Holy Spirit do?|
|How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?|
|How can I make the most of the rest of my life?|
This is a great opportunity to share the gospel in a non-threatening way. Well, it worked. People began to know Jesus. There were non-believers accepting Christ as their Savior, and “lukewarm” believers re-affirming their faith and walk with the Lord. It came to the U.S. in the 90’s, and there has been a push to spread the movement of everyday followers of Christ who essentially want people to know who Jesus is without shoving a religion down anyone’s throat.
So what is my role within Alpha? What does a Regional Director do exactly? Amongst many things, I will list the main responsibilities.
1) I will do my best to adequately resource and assist the current churches that are running the Alpha course, to the end that we build a cohesive community of Alpha Courses in the Regional instead of autonomous courses being run by independent entities. This will be done mainly via personal contact and relationship building. We desperately want to do this together. After all, the goal is sharing Jesus ‘outwardly,’ not necessarily getting the most attendants ‘inwardly.’
2) I will begin to network with other churches that have either expressed interest in Alpha or would potentially benefit from tasting what Alpha is. Alpha works. There’s no gimmicks. We want to share Christ.
3) I will work with a Regional Leadership Team to raise funds for our region. Funds are raised a variety of ways. Some churches have Alpha in their outreach fund. Some monies enter the region that way. Additionally, some people that take the Alpha Course are impacted so much that they want to give back to Alpha after they’ve taken it. We do not ask for money. The course is absolutely free. They give out of their life-change and desire to perpetuate this onward. Apart from this, there is the occasional one-time donor that feels led to give to the region. This is also a way funds come in. The good thing is that the funds for the region come from a variety of avenues. Nevertheless, it will be a part of my role.
This is shaping up to be an exciting season for us. The baby is coming soon. We’re settled into our apartment. Erica is doing great at Nyack. We’re worshiping together as a married couple attending church. The Alpha role is formalizing itself. It is certainly a great season.
I ask that you keep us in your prayers. For me, this upcoming season will take work and being in the “trenches” as I push forward to do my part in sharing the name of Jesus to those who are in need and searching. Be Blessed.