As we continue this process of Alpha with the first course coming to fruition this month, I am excited. God has put on my heart a sense of urgency, but not a sense of hurry. This first round was just a taste as we look to how we can reach the many people in our community that do not know the love of Jesus Christ. Now is the time for planning. I have discussed with those that have been a part of this first term to share with others what they gain and invite others to become involved when we do the next course. The next course will ultimately have the goal to reach out to the community and will require a lot more helping hands.
The term Alpha comes from the first Greek letter of the Greek Alphabet. We know that our Lord Jesus Christ describes himself as the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 22:13), the beginning and the end. So, it is with Alpha. Alpha is meant to offer a beginning, a starting point for people into the faith that is Christianity. It is a step off point. For “seasoned” Christians, it still explores some very deep topics and may give even better insight and help a person recommit themselves to the faith in Jesus Christ.
For Good Shepherd, I see it as a new beginning that will lead her faithfully into the next 50+ years of ministry after many of us will be long gone. Looking ahead Alpha will be one piece as I will begin deeper biblical study beginning this Fall, in this, I desire your input and your assistance. As we plan the next course and start the new worship service, which will be Wednesday Evenings beginning at 7:30 pm on July 12th, the question is when to start the next course and how will that look with normal seasonal worship trends, Advent and Lent. If we continue on Wednesdays, we will run into a conflict with traditional services that have run, though are less attended in recent years.
Also, I will need assistance in helping to do the course with helpers, kitchen, prayer team, and greeters. To do these things does not require that one have gone through Alpha, only a love of our Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to see lives changed. If we begin in the Fall, I would need someone to cover for me in October as I attend the LCMC Annual Gathering. These are things that are on my heart and my mind because once we begin reaching in the community, I don’t want us to lose momentum. That is the not hurried, but urgent sense that is upon me at this time.
The necessity to be a light in our community has a high level of urgency in it. It seems that more and more regularly we are reading in the local paper about large drug busts. It breaks my heart as I see some of the pictures and recognize them from interactions in the community at local businesses. I am also heartbroken knowing how many children are living in poverty knowing that this is more than just a financial issue, but spiritual and the spiritual, in my opinion, is much more detrimental.
My heart yearns for bringing together families within our community as we grow together even more as a family of Christ. We come together in Word and Sacrament and share our faith with those that do not fully know the joy that it brings. The freedom we receive that washing and renewal in the waters of Baptism and the newness of life that we receive in Christ’s precious body and blood.
We have been reminded as a congregation of our age as we have seen many enter the Church Triumphant in recent months, but there is still life in us, and we have a great field that is ripe and ready for harvest. This is just the beginning, and there are much greater things ahead for us. We are a family, and each of us has something to share from our beginning to our end. I look forward to you joining me in this mission, and I am excited to see how God can use you.
– Pastor Chris