There’s something wonderful about getting away for the weekend. Particularly if your aim is to encounter God. Especially if you get to do it with a bunch of people who have never encountered God before.
This is exactly what we got to do recently on our Alpha Weekend Away.
Everyday Church hadn’t organised an Alpha Weekend Away for over a decade until we gathered four of our Alpha Courses together in March. One from our Southfields venue, one from Croydon and two from Wimbledon (we invited guests from the course we ran at Wimbledon last term as well. Ask me about how this course came about sometime, it’s a great story!)
So, there we were, a mix of smaller groups gathering together to learn more about the Holy Spirit.
Over 48 hours we ate together, went on country walks, had deep chats, played some rather boisterous rounds of Articulate, enjoyed the views and fresh air. We heard four talks together on themes like “Who is the Holy Spirit?” and “How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?”. We had times of group discussion and personal reflection. And on the Saturday night we spent time in worship and prayer, asking God to reveal more of himself to us.
It was an absolute joy to pray alongside individuals who were praying out loud for the first time. To see God ministering in to individual circumstances and heartbreak. To hear guests use words like “extraordinary” and “remarkable” to describe their experiences of the Spirit’s presence. To celebrate with two guests who made first time commitments to Jesus, one of whom was completely new to the Christian faith when they started their Alpha Course in January. To savour the astonishment of guests receiving words of knowledge for the first time, and asking “Did you speak to someone who knows me before you prayed for me?”.
There were many personal highlights for me. I loved hearing one guest making links between what they’d be studying in the Gospels and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the first believers at Pentecost.
On the country walk I got in to a wonderfully meandering conversation that covered things like the variety of views on priesthood across different theological streams, the joys of expositional preaching and charismatic worship, and hearing this guest describe how our church feels like family.
Finally, hearing one guests reflecting on the weekend at the very end saying, “I’d come again tomorrow!”
What a delight to partner with God in this way. To see and participate in the journeys of so many lovely people. We trust God for ongoing breakthroughs, and for life long commitments to Jesus.
We will definitely be doing this again. (Do get in touch if you’d like to join us next time!)