Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes

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3 Key Activities For A Church In Transition (or, how to survive your time between pastors)

This summer has given me a personal view of what happens when transition lingers or seems to have no end.  When I arrived here in Rosenort I just put my head down and worked on what I needed to.  I wrote letters, blogs and spent time with closest family.  This was transition time, transition space and I didn’t need to worry about anyone else.  The people around me had all sorts of plans for my life and I successfully brushed most of that aside too.  Now 9 weeks into a 2 week transition, I think I’m starting to see the light of day and seeing others around me

The Number 1 casualty of a church in transition

People.  A pastor leaves and people get funny, leave, stop working, open old wounds and fight for power.  None of this helps the witness of the church.

In my work with Alpha, I have found that transition is the one overriding reason that churches are not sharing the gospel in their neighbourhoods or with their friends.   Continue reading


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Get ready for Alpha in August, 3 Key Activities

It’s August, nearly the middle of the month, and in spite of waiting to move our family overseas, my mind goes into “Get Ready for Alpha” mode. I’m thinking of who I’d like to invite, who’d be on my team and anticipating the joy of seeing community form around seeking God and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

If you’re thinking of running Alpha this fall, here are 3 key activities that I’d do this month.

1. Gather the team: Continue reading

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It’s the Easter Weekend – what if someone comes to faith?

I am not a fisherman.  There are a few reasons, primarily this: a good day for fishing is an even better day for bike riding.  Second reason?  I’m not a big fan of cleaning the fish.  Catching fish is fun, but what you have to do between catching and eating is just a little beyond me.

Alpha bannerFor many of us, the work of making disciples of Jesus is much the same.  I’m not sure about you, but I think I’m more worried about evangelism being successful than unsuccessful. If I share my faith and it’s rejected, I can carry on as usual.  If the Gospel is accepted, then I need to get to work on helping this new believer learn to walk with Jesus.  I like bringing a person to faith & I like working with mature believers, but helping them grow in maturity is just hard work.

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Are Alpha Churches ready for people who find faith in prison?

I have a theory, but it’s untested and I need some help.

Churches that run Alpha are more than halfway ready to welcome people who find faith during an Alpha Course in prison.

Now, it’s just a theory, but wouldn’t you like to help me test it?

If you’re in Winnipeg May 2, would you consider joining me for a roundtable discussion called Breaking the Cycle of Crime.  We’ve designed the time to be focused on building relationships between pastors, prison chaplains & those working in after prison ministries.  We’ll hear from Alpha for Prisons Director John Kreklo and have opportunity to talk together about what God may be doing in our city and province. Continue reading


A story of life change to encourage you

This story came through the Alpha office in the past year. Let it encourage you to make friends with your neighbours, pray for open doors to share your faith, run an Alpha and generally to be available to God.

The Dave and Charis Burton Story

Before they met


“As a child, my grandparents were the spiritual leaders in the family, while my parents were ‘passive and reluctant followers’.

“When I was seven, my family relocated to Red Deer, Alberta. We moved 11 hours away from everything I knew and loved. When we moved away from my mother’s parents, it was as though we moved away from God as well.
“In time, the importance of God and belonging to a church family faded. I made a decision when I was 13 that God and I should part ways. I rationalized it by telling God that by associating myself with Him, I’d make Him look really bad. I told Him it’d be in His best interest if we pretended not to know each other.

“My teen years were difficult on everybody I loved. I broke my parents’ hearts over and over, to the point where I was sure they couldn’t possibly love me anymore.

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Highlights from Youth Quake 2014

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This past weekend I joined AJ Crocker (YQ Coordinator, Caronport High School Chaplain & Youth Pastor at Moose Jaw Alliance Church), Ben Woodman & Jason Ballard (of the Alpha Youth Film Series) and about 1400 teenagers at Briercrest Bible College’s Youth Quake weekend.  We were challenged by amazing speakers, bands, other youth leaders, professors and little sleep.

Here are my highlights in pictorial form.

WestJet's new wings

WestJet’s new wings – A great ride in this new Bombardier plane.

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This gallery contains 10 photos

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The 3 Things that get me most excited up about Alpha!

There are always things for me to get hyped about with Alpha.  It’s lots of work but I love being on a dynamic team of hard working friends.  Here are my top 3 for December 2013!
Image1. Alpha’s Youth Film Series –  Here you’ll find the first 2 episodes free to watch.  If you’d like more, you need to register a course.  Registered users get access to all the videos, the training videos, handouts to print off, small group leader help and other best practices, ALL FOR FREE.
2. Speaking of free, all Alpha videos are free now. can help you see all the innovative ways that people are using Alpha (prisons, seniors, homes, coffee shops, university).
The Parenting Course for Children

The Parenting Course for Children

3. Relationship Central – I didn’t talk about this on Monday but from the same church (Holy Trinity Brompton in London UK) are 4 great courses: The Marriage Preparation Course, The Marriage Course, The Parenting Children Course and The Parenting Teenagers Course.  They’re very well produced and easy to use.  I often say that if I could use them, you could give them to any capable leader in your church.  These are not evangelistic courses, nor do they assume any biblical knowledge so they work very well with community audiences.

If you’d like help to get Alpha running in your church or parish, drop me a line and I’ll get you connected to someone who can help!