Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes

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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

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!

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Resisting the urge to jump into Alpha

I meet many pastors, youth pastors are especially guilty of this, who try to run Alpha without taking time to do good training. Whether its urgency or lack of preparation, not training usually has the effect of making things more difficult than they need to be.

I asked Cher Paulson, interim pastor of Alpha at Calvary Temple in Winnipeg, why training is critical to having Alpha run well. Here’s her response.

“The most valued part of our training sessions is the learning from each other and hearing from others and what they do to manage their table. It helps for the table hosts to share their ideas, triumphs and challenges and we can all learn together. I think training is also crucial because there is always more to learn. We can also be sharpening our skills. There may be something that we need in that moment because every time we lead it’s a different experience with different people. I think it’s important to keep the training relevant and interesting and give lots of room for input and venting. It’s important for each table host to know they are not alone and they are not the only one to have faced this challenge and what they have learned along the way may help another leader who is struggling.

“I try and get my leaders to look at training as not what they can get out of it but rather what they can put into it for others to get out of it.”

What do you think? Can you think of a time when you failed to train or prepare well enough? In a program or sports or a family vacation?


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HTB Leadership Conference – Day One Takeaways

We are at the Royal Albert Hall for 2 days of leadership inspiration and a day of Alpha celebration. Here are some things I’ll hang on to from day one.

Quotes from Archbishop Justin Welby

The moment of salvation is when we learned what Christ did for us, not what we do for Him.

“There were more people paid to be there than were there voluntarily. Which is not a good method of church growth, in case you’re considering it.”
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