When Angela Grafelman signed up for the Alpha Course, she did not realize the people she met would have such a profound impact on her life. By this time, Angela had been attending Northwoods for a couple of months and wanted her church experience to include more than weekend services.
“Pastor Cal preached about stepping out of your comfort zone to grow, and I was ready to grow.” said Angela. “I knew there was something more.”
Angela was intrigued by Alpha’s class description—learn about the big questions of life and the basic principles of Christianity—so she stopped in the lobby to find out more. The help she received there was reassuring.
“If nothing else, come for the free food.” the Guest Services volunteer joked. “If you don’t like it, you won’t have to come back.”
Angela walked into the first session of Alpha feeling nervous and unsure where to sit, and doubt crept into her mind. But she pushed forward and found a table to join. She immediately noticed how much younger her table members were, and she wondered if she would have any trouble communicating with them effectively.
The course content proved to be fascinating and inspiring, but for Angela, the greater impact came from the personal relationships that grew from around her table. Angela’s marriage was failing, but she found the stability and support she needed through the group.
“The people in my group routinely went out of their way to say hello or reach out to me.”
They also prayed for her. Once the class was finished, the group was so tight that they wanted to stick together. Angela said the bond they shared was special, and they continued to meet once a week, working through Bible studies, enjoying connection, and catching up on each others’ lives.
Taking that first step out of her comfort zone to attend Alpha helped Angela develop a new and exciting attitude about Northwoods, and it made her want to take another step. She enrolled in Four Steps and soon became a member of Northwoods. She discovered her spiritual gifts and found a comfortable place to serve at the church.
“Everything about Northwoods feels genuine.” said Angela. “Everyone here is on the same level. Pastor Cal does not put himself above the congregation, and that attitude shows through all the staff and volunteers. I know I’m going to be okay here.”