“You’re not one of those crazy Christians trying to talk to me about God are you?”
These types of awkward and sometimes combative conversations happened over and over again within my first few months on campus at Arizona State University as a campus minister.
About 3 years ago I had this crazy feeling that God wanted me to quit my job, and go to ASU with one goal: tell people about the story of Jesus Christ. So I quit, and I spent the whole summer planning, dreaming, and praying God would show up and change peoples lives just like he did for me when I was a student.
But these types of awkward exchanges were some of the first things people said to me as I attempted to share my faith. Quite honestly each of these comments left me a little shaken, and a bit stumped as to whether sharing the Christian faith with strangers was effective or even worthwhile. Also, I just didn’t want to be one of those “crazy Christians.”
But these moments forced me to start asking: Why are so many people resistant, uncomfortable, apathetic, or outright angry when it comes to having conversations about the bigger questions of life and faith?
So I started asking people why they thought these types of conversations are so difficult.
Our world is filled with people who talk a lot, and yet no one really listens. Our world has so many voices, opinions, agendas, and positions that everyone is trying to share, push, or convince. Because our world had become so oversaturated with voices, the only natural response is to begin tuning things out entirely or become defensive.
So out of desperation, I began to read the gospels and ask the question: How am I supposed to share the story of the good news of Jesus and not be drown out by all the other voices. How can I share my faith in a way that people feel loved; not like a sales pitch?
Then as I paid attention to Jesus in the gospels, I noticed that he had a serious habit of asking questions. So much so that most of the time when someone asked Jesus a question he responded by answering with another question. So according to my preconceived definition of sharing the good news, Jesus was a bad evangelist. Over and over it seems he missed his shot to give a clear answer and instead asked more questions and listened to people’s responses.
But I began to realize is sharing the good news begins with creating space for people to honestly wrestle through the biggest question in all of the worlds history; who do you say Jesus is?
As a church dedicated to making disciples of Jesus and reaching the city of Tempe, we think it’s pretty important to create spaces for people to wrestle through this question. A space that focuses on hospitality, listening well, and making a safe and fun environment for people to share what they think. A space where we as Christians embody the posture of Jesus by listening well, and not just so we can speak next.
That is why we are doing Alpha. Our prayer is to create the space for people to honestly answer, who do you think Jesus is?
Alpha is a series of sessions to explore life, faith and meaning specifically for people who would say they are not Christian. It’s a space to explore the big questions of life, especially in a world that is incredibly busy, loud, and distracting.
Each night consists of food, then a talk, followed by a discussion in small groups. The talks explore a different aspect of the christian faith, and then the small group discussions are an opportunity for people to say exactly what they think in an honest and friendly environment.
Our church will host Alpha beginning October 3rd and it will last 10 weeks. The primary way people will get connected to Alpha is through your invitation. Alpha is designed to be a space for non-Christians to explore what they believe about life’s big questions, so the only way our friends, family, and coworkers will hear about Alpha is through our invitations as a congregation.
Commit to praying for one week, for one person, and extend one invite to someone you know who could be blessed by Alpha.
Our greatest need now is volunteers. Alpha is a matter of good hospitality. To make this work we need 50 volunteers before September 9th. Greeters, food serving, prayer team members, and a set up team. Become a part of our team by filling out the volunteer application in the link below.