Onward: Goal Number 3
Onward – Goal #3 for This Year
On Sunday, August 28, the Deacons, Elders, and SLT of Elmhurst CRC got together from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (including a worship service) to seek God’s guidance for the ministry year ahead. We left the room confident that the Holy Spirit had given us three audacious goals for the next nine months of congregational life.* The third goal is this: to have 100% of our elected leaders and 50% of our congregation experience Alpha.
Alpha is a safe place to explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open, and informal environment. It’s a place where no question is “wrong” or “bad” and people can be authentically curious about their beliefs. Alpha happens anywhere—homes, coffee shops, prisons, bars, or churches.
Alpha started in 1977 in England in a church called Holy Trinity Brompton. The church used Alpha to disciple new members or new believers. In 1991, Nicky Gumbel took over leading Alpha, and he made the observation that it was very effective at connecting with people who believed differently and were not a part of a church. At that time in history, many people were abandoning what they had been taught or grown up learning about Jesus, God, faith, and the Bible. Alpha became a safe place to come with your spiritual questions, no matter what they might be.
Today, in America, we face a similar spiritual climate. Most of us are too afraid or feel inadequate to enter into these kinds of conversations with people where we live, work, or play. Alpha provides a place where we can bring people and walk alongside them as they wrestle with their own questions about Christianity.
Why would we want the whole congregation to go through this? Two reasons come to mind.
- Alpha offers a clear and truthful expression of the Christian faith. It would be good for anyone to go through the Alpha course to remember and reflect on what you believe. It also gives you a chance to discuss what you believe and practice putting it into words. If you can’t talk about it at church and “rehearse” how you will say it, then you’ll never talk about it where you live, work, and play.
Going through it gives us all a chance to experience the Alpha Course firsthand. Hopefully, as you go through it, God will bring to mind people in your life who could benefit from going through Alpha, with you coming alongside them as their “guide on the side.”
There were nine of us on the original team that launched Alpha in 2020 here at Elmhurst CRC. We all started not knowing what to expect. And even though we had invited and were leading the people we had invited through it, we found Jesus surprising us in so many ways. We grew in our understanding of what we believed. We gained a new passion for Jesus and his Kingdom. We developed a desire for the filling of the Holy Spirit. We learned how to pray in ways we hadn’t before and formed meaningful connections with each other as we embarked on the same mission together.
If you want to jump in, it’s not too late this fall. There are two courses going on right now, one in the morning before church at 8:30 and one at 5 pm on Sundays. Both of these are at church in the Upper Gathering Room. You can sign up at elmhurstcrc.org/alpha. There will be more opportunities in the spring. It’s not just about watching the videos. The magic of Alpha is in the conversations after the videos.
Check it out! Who knows what surprises Jesus has for you when you invest in your relationship with him in this way! See you at Alpha!
- Pastor Jeff Klein
Goal #1: *Two weeks ago we shared the first goal: That “All In” people come to church three out of four Sundays.
Goal #2: Last week, we delved into the second goal: to highlight the presence, gifts, and contribution of the young people in our community – from high schoolers and college students to post-grads.