How did you get connected with Alpha?
Genna: We went through the Alpha course and led a session at the church Justin and I went to when we were first married. Last fall, we were asked to serve at the CPC Alpha course, and we said we would if we could do it as a family. As parents of young kids and tweens, when there’s an activity every night, we didn’t want Alpha to feel like one more thing on our plate. After starting, Alpha quickly became our kids’ favorite night of the week!
What did you do as volunteers?
Jude (9): Usually we would help get the food ready, which was really fun. When we arrived at CPC, we would pray and then greet people.
Gia (11): It was about making people feel welcome.
Genna: The team at CPC is so great making people feel welcome, so we were just continuing that by serving and making people feel comfortable to then have open hearts to learn about Jesus; some for the first time, and others who already had deep faiths.
Gia: And we received so much out of it, too.
Justin: We would leave shortly after the Alpha videos ended, then we’d talk about the lessons on the car ride home with the kids, so they could explore and process what it means to be a Christian and how to share that with others.
Genna: As much as we were serving and having that heart, our kids in turn were mentored by the other volunteers, who poured into them. That’s so important for kids to have adult mentors in their life. They’d pray for our kids in our prayer circle, especially if they’d had a hard day. It was something Gia and Jude never wanted to miss.
Jude: Like on my birthday, we had to miss Alpha and we were all so sad. But it was also cool because the Alpha team sent us a video with a happy birthday message.
What was something unexpected?
Gia: They would make such good food!
Jude: The food! And I learned more about talking to parents and older adults. There were cool people there that shared their stories, and I met people from our church community.
What were your takeaways?
Jude: I learned that Jesus is always there. He’s always with you.
Gia: Sometimes I’d have a rough day at school, and then I’d go to Alpha and it would make me feel happy again.
Justin: By getting involved in our church community through Alpha, we really experienced God’s love and compassion through the people it brought together. It forced us to hit pause during our week and go serve other people. And the amount we received from Alpha turned out to be so much more than we expected. It really filled our buckets!
Genna: We’re so glad we said yes as a family. It felt so positive and like a breather in our week. We also learned more about the power of prayer. We would pray beforehand, and both kids, on their own volition, would pray in a group. That can be intimidating, even for adults. They just did it on their own, asking if there was something they could pray for.
How has serving impacted your faith?
Justin: As Christians, we are called to bring others to faith, and I think it can be challenging because it’s almost one of those taboo topics. Being part of an environment where we could have conversations about our purpose in this world and how Jesus’ dying on the cross gives us eternal life was pretty amazing. It’s one thing to go to church and listen to the sermon, but it’s another thing to jump in and serve others.
Genna: I think it was a reminder to keep watering our kids’ faith. As Christians we’re supposed to be spreading the word, and at Alpha, it creates that space for our kids to grow in their faith. It also allowed our kids to see that we still have questions and we don’t know everything either, even after being a Christian for so long.
Justin: We’re all on different journeys in our faith and what we believe, but as long as it’s centered in Christ, that’s the key. Then you can figure out the rest of the details. We also saw how critical it is to have mentors for the kids outside of Genna and myself. I think we really experienced a taste of that and know there’s more of that to come as we continue to raise our kids.
Genna: Because of their hearts and that environment, the staff and volunteers took that on so naturally. It’s a great feeling to know your kids have other adults they could go to with a hard topic and are looking out for them.
What encouragement would you offer to other families?
Genna: We realized the importance of taking time as a family to give back, especially when our kids are young. I would encourage anyone listening to stretch yourself and say yes to those opportunities. Even if you don’t think you have the time, I would say to make the time and prioritize this because it is so important.
Jude: Just do it. Sometimes we’d even have sports, and we’d be like, “Can we please miss it for Alpha?” So definitely do it!
Gia: I would just tell them to do it, too. It sounds like another thing on your plate, but really you’ll look forward to doing it!