You’re invited - YES!
We don’t get much post these days. But that morning in the middle of last year was different. A small envelope dropped on the mat. Thick textured paper - proper posh! The envelope franking made me suspicious, we are not in the habit of getting post from Buckingham Palace.
I paused before opening the weighty letter, half thinking that one of my siblings was winding me up. Inside an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. It was true. “The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by Her Majesty to invite...” Yes! We cancelled everything, hired some fancy clothes and got ready to visit the Palace. We did not get very close to the Queen, but we had some loverly sandwiches, royal cake with tea, a walk around the grounds and I even fell asleep in the sun by the lake. As one of the shepherds said at Christmas, it was “proper lush.”
Asleep by the lake at Buckingham Palace
That moment of being invited was perhaps even more amazing than going to the palace. As nice as the garden party was, it was not very personal and I will not be changing my life because of it.
Over twenty-five years ago I received a different kind of invitation. No fancy envelopes or royal stamps. Just someone at a local church inviting Meghan and I to an Alpha course. I had recently come back to faith and Meg had just come to faith after a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit during worship. Alpha was a wonderful experience. For me, it confirmed what I believed but had tried to run from. For Meghan it was all new and helped her to grow up quickly as she learnt to follow Jesus. Alpha is a fantastic resource for the church to be able to invite people to explore faith and life. It was a privilege to be there in London in the early stages of its international roll out.
All it takes from you is an invitation and you know what, people love to be invited to things! You don’t have to bash people over the head with the bible (in fact I would rather you didn’t). Just ask. You might say something like, “We are starting a great course at All Saints called Alpha. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore what life's about - would you like to come with me?”
We will be using the new video material which is really fresh and engaging.
Last year at All Saints there where three Alpha Courses, two in the church centre and one in someone’s home. Our next course starts on 23rd of Jan in the church centre at 7.45pm with the taster session.
So I would love you to join me in doing a couple of things:
1. Pray for the Alpha course (team and guests).
2. Pray for your friends and neighbours and ask the Holy Spirit who to invite.
3. Invite someone on this Alpha course.
Question, if you're not going to do this then why not?
One more thing. We have a section on the website that we would love to fill with your stories and testimonies. This enables us to be sharing the good news of Jesus 24/7 (in December the new website received over 100,000 page requests). Please, could you send us your story via email. No more than 500 words, keep the language simple, free from Christianise and include a photo.
By the way, a simple invitation could change the course of someone's life. A young man called Albert invited his friend Billy Graham to hear a preacher. The rest is history, but its life-changing history.