Come as You Are—Seriously

Many churches beg people to come as they are. I often wonder how many churches truly mean this when they say it. When we invite people into our church community as they are, this sends a message that we as the body of Christ are open to a certain level of discomfort and vulnerability in building authentic relationships. One of the ways in which I see this happening at Faith is through Alpha. Our Alpha team gathers each Wednesday to grow closer to God and other people. Here is what our Alpha leaders said when I asked, 

“How do you see God working through Alpha?”

Paul: “I think one of the most beautiful things about Alpha is people come from different walks of life and all different situations. You sit around at the table for weeks and weeks and slowly get to know each other and open up and tell your stories and there’s this bond that happens. It’s pretty deep.”

Tom: “I had someone crying at my table. It’s interesting when people become willing to share and I think that’s really rewarding. Sometimes it just blows me away that people are willing to say the things they’ll say to people who a month ago were strangers.”

Barb: “Vulnerable is okay at Alpha and it’s welcomed.”

John: “Everybody seems to be comfortable sharing in a very short period of time. I mean, we only met these people five or six hours in their lives and they’re sharing these deep, deep family issues that they’ve had for generations and it’s like they’re freer when they walk out; I feel better when I walk out. It’s amazing to see.”

Van: “If we didn’t have Alpha, I feel like people would be carrying this stuff around like a ball and chain. And I guess I just see our society characterized by those burdens these days. Studies show people have fewer and fewer people they can confide in. We’re more individualized than ever and I think there’s a real spiritual hunger for something like Alpha where you can connect at a deep level with other people. But there’s so little in our society that offers this or promotes this. Alpha is just the most spectacularly wonderful thing that I know of other than maybe therapy.”

Brenda: “Except it’s free and you get food!”

We then joked about advertising Alpha as free therapy with tacos. While I do not think this advertisement will catch on, I believe what happens during Alpha is significant. As an Alpha alum, I know how beneficial it is for people to freely explore tough questions regarding spirituality. My hope is for each person at Faith to take Alpha someday and invite a friend or two or three.

Until Sunday,

Tone Waters

Director of GO & Communications