Last night we hosted a Alpha + House Groups meet-up to celebrate the continuing success and growth of both events.
25 of my friends shared in fellowship over Isobel's famous vegetable broth and big slabs of bread. We then went through to the main hall for some worship led by Olly and BLOC with a couple of guests :: Liz & Sarah on vocals and Roscoe on bass for a couple of songs. Fab - the band really sounded spot on and were so appropriate for the evening.
I have uploaded my powerpoint slides plus the 2 movies used for reference here :: box(dot)net
I then kicked things off with a quote from Edward de Bono ::
Imagine a ship at sea that is in trouble. The lights keep going out. The engine is faltering. The rudder (not rubber as I said ^___^) is unreliable. The first mate is drunk. The crew is very demoralized. The service is appalling. The passengers on the ship are very dissatisfied. Then a new captain and first mate are brought in by helicopter. Very quickly everything changes. The morale of the crew is lifted. Service improves. The engine is fixed. The lights stay on. Everything is fine... but the ship is still heading in the wrong direction.The rationale for this quote is for us to continually review every element of our approach - not just tinker with the key variables like content and leadership but ask the BIG questions like "is this going in the right direction?"
We then discussed the Malcolm Gladwell quote I posted a few days ago ::
As I see it, one of the most unfortunate misunderstandings of our time has been to think of small intentional communities as groups 'within' the church," the philosopher Dick Westley writes in one of the many books celebrating the rise of small-group power. "When are we going to have the courage to publicly proclaim what everyone with any experience with small groups has known all along: they are not organizations 'within' the church; they are church."It really helped to put things into a truer context.
I then played the Suburban Monastry movie from Thinker Labs and asked what the difference was between the church building and the home... the response was nothing...except for the home having comfier seats ^___^
I opened the Bible and read from Ephesians 6: 13-18 (the Message) ::
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply to them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drop out.This is why we do Alpha and the House Groups - to ensure people are prepared and able to look out for each other so that no one falls behind.
I then opened up the discussion :: Bobby & Lawrie presented their thoughts on Alpha and we had further comment from the group. Ruth and Sarah then gaves us their thoughts on the House Groups followed by further discussion by the group.
We came to the collective decision that from the 8th May, the house groups will follow the sermon from the Sunday and discuss it further. In addition, in Autumn, we will run Alpha again with the follow-up course : "A life worth living" : running in conjunction within the House Groups.
Absolutely delighted with the support and participation of all involved. Everyone there wants to make this work and I was surprised by their willingness. So surprised that I was called on it - one of the attendees, Jim, asked why I was so surprised... He said that I shouldn't be surprised if I trust in God and do what He wants me to do - He will make it His own.
Another comment that delighted me was when one of the attendees, Betty, recounted a story where she had defended the House Groups from a criticism of cliquiness. The last thing is that we are a clique - everyone is welcome and doing the topic in multiple locations at different times allows people who do shifts or have commitments to attend at least one group a week. This was encouraging.
The evening closed with coffee, cake and a good giggle at the expense of the Farting Preacher... followed by some great music from BLOC
What a great night!