Richard Ouko, Alpha Kenya's Regional coordinator, has travelled extensively around the country running Alpha Training events in Kenya as well as in Tanzania. Below is his story.
Caught in the web of what I wanted to do in the future or when I grew up as is usually said, I felt a pull towards working in the Church. This to me meant being a Pastor or a Priest because these were the people who played a big part in my upbringing. Growing up in a Christian family, I responded easily and without much resistance to the call of Salvation. It did not take long before I realized the difference between being a Christian and not being one. Schooling presented a world view that ran counter to my thoughts of working in a church setting. The talk of career development soon took priority and I was now lost in the sea of confusion, between what was godly and what was not.
In the meantime, like any other young person, I struggled with the processes of growth. Having given my life to Christ, I soon discovered that I was caught up in my own confession of Christianity. How could I remain a Christian both in private and in public? I also wondered about career prospects and even the call to Ministry. The opportunity for Ministry preparation at college level opened up but at the same time, other opportunities also opened up for internships and so the question of what to settle for lingered on.
It is difficult to reach out to Christ by merely sitting on the pews in church. The conventional style of reaching out is through preaching and evangelising at crusades and rallies. For me, it was after meeting the Alpha Kenya Director on another mission field that things took a turn with clarity. I had been trained to handle hard theological concepts not just in thought but also in speech and style. The Alpha approach is marked by simplicity and precision. The style of engaging all at the same time especially in groups came as a shock to me. I wondered why a non-believer would be allowed to participate in a discussion that revolved around God whom they did not even know about as yet. I soon learned that it was not about me but rather about God’s love for all. I felt at peace in serving while growing in the process.
As I begun to work with many different people from various Churches, I realised that I was now able to reach out to people from diverse groups. Instead of waiting for them to come to Church, we went out to them and engaged them in their environment. I discovered that group discussions were key to reaching out without subjecting guests to theological concepts that they might not even understand. Things that people would traditionally accept because the pastor had said them, no longer presented a big challenge because the guests were allowed to present their thoughts and ask any questions.
I am passionate about reaching those in the rural areas. The use of Alpha has enabled me to reach out easily and opened my eyes to the great longing the rural folk have for the Bible.
I thank God for connecting me with the Alpha Team. Together we are reaching out to the larger Parish which is the World. I pray that I shall always strive to act as a servant as I serve and not try to lord it over people, for this is the Spirit of Christ.