If you were looking to hear the call of the church, the assumption of a natural surrounding might not necessarily take you to a night out on the town in Belfast. And yet this is where Stacy was, keeping her hands warm with a key invitational ingredient – a cup of tea.
The expectation versus the reality of an invitation doesn’t always match up, but Stacy found something within the simplicity of a conversation and a warm gesture. It brought her to the door of a church on their first night of Alpha.
‘First time I ever heard about Alpha, I had ended up out of a nightclub on my own. A lady came over to me...’
Hosting well is over half of providing a good experience, yet how much time do we spend working on the different elements which come together to create an environment of open discussion? This doesn’t just mean giving testament to the power of tea, but also creating a welcoming culture. Jonny has seen discussions transform the way people see the church and feel confident to engage, for both guests and hosts. No more ‘everyone sits there and listen to the guy’.
Articulating what you think, as Jonny remarked, helped to verbalise and act on what is taught in a church service. When knowledge drops from the head to the heart.
Stacy’s invitation took place with a stranger in the open. Eight years later, the approach Stacy has involves ‘meeting people where their comfort zone is – meet people where they are at’. Stacy is now part of a team who run Alpha in prison and in a local pub.