We had a chance to sit down with Alpha North leaders Pastor Paul Huglin (Diamond Valley Baptist Church) and Pastor Aaron Kelly (Fresh Church) during their Alpha Day. Read on to find out more about their pastoral journey as well as how partnering together with local churches has made an impact in their community.
Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a pastor?
Aaron: My journey started at Diamond Valley Baptist which is the church I grew up in. I got really involved in the youth ministry and completed an internship with the church. I felt so encouraged by the pastors and leaders to really chase after God’s dream for my life and the calling He had for me. As the years went on, I met my wife and we spent seven years serving as children pastors. Then in the last year and a half we have started Fresh Church in Montmorency where both my wife and I serve as senior pastors. It’s been quite a journey!
Paul: For me, I had always had a desire to be a church leader. It really became a reality when I re-entered into a faith community. I felt God was calling me to be a minister and I’m now one of the pastors at Diamond Valley Baptist Church.
What is your church community like?
Paul: Diamond Valley Baptist has a great community of young families right through to a number of people who are aged 55+. Our church has been around for over 55 years - originally it was Greensborough Baptist Church then became Diamond Valley Baptist Church when it moved sites 30 years ago.
Aaron: Being quite young for a senior pastor, my wife and I thought we would be a church that attracted more young people. While we are a church filled with many young adults and young families, we have seen recent growth in the 50+ demographic. It’s definitely surprised me in a good way. When I asked them what they see in our church, they said they love seeing young people passionate about their faith. I love that we are now a multi-generational church.
How has evangelism played a role in your church?
Paul: Alpha has really helped our church with sharing Jesus. Diamond Valley Baptist has been running Alpha for years and it personally has been one of the key turning points in my life. I arrived at the church in a state of brokenness so I decided to do Alpha within the first three to four months. Through Alpha, I experienced a rebirth that changed my life. The amazing thing is my story has been repeated many times over in the life of our church. So many people have
come to Alpha and brought others which in turn has helped us reach more people.
Aaron: This is our first time we are doing Alpha as a church. We have only been going for a year and a half but reaching people for Christ is definitely a mandate of who we are. We always want people who are non-Christians coming through our church doors and experiencing the power of God in our services. At Fresh Church, we want our teaching to be relevant for those who are mature Christians as well as those who know nothing about God.
Every week we give people the chance to respond to Jesus, and almost every time we have seen people respond to this opportunity. It’s been incredible to watch people beginning their spiritual journey and see them grow in church life. Our vision is that we offer people a fresh start but also empower and equip them to change their world. It’s about encouraging them to take their salvation to their family, friends, workplaces etc.
How does Alpha run in your church?
Paul: Alpha has been part of the history of our church. It has been the vehicle where new people have become passionate about their faith. Their newfound enthusiasm is what attracts the next person to come and try Alpha. Often the guests that follow are a previous guest’s friend, relative, etc.
Aaron: A lot of what we do is run through connect groups. For this term, we put a hold on all our connect groups and decided to just run Alpha. We asked everyone to bring a friend – this was his or her ticket to Alpha. The reason for doing this is because we wanted our congregation to know that we took Alpha seriously. Going into next term, we will relaunch connect groups but one of them will remain a group where we continually run Alpha.
Read more of our Q&A with Paul and Aaron HERE.