Once – in the oil industry. Now – running Alpha for retired people. Chris’s story. Posted on July 30, 2018July 30, 2018 by Chris Matthews It started with a simple prayer, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’ Where it ended has taken me completely by surprise. Several months before that simple prayer my paid employment had ended. I’d been CEO of two London-based, jointly administered, charities. Before that, a bursar – looking after the business side of a school. Before that, had been many years in the oil industry. The first months of after-work saw me catching up with jobs around the house and garden, visiting family and going to places of interest with my wife Linda. But I knew retirement had to be about more than ‘me’. That was the reason for the prayer. And God answered – within a week. Doing so through the Vicar of my Egham, Surrey, church who said ‘Chris we have been praying and we want you and Linda to run an Alpha course for retired people’. Though never having been on an Alpha course, I realised my past business and church experience made leading one something I could do. More importantly, this seemed to be something God wanted me to do. Of the team I pulled together, almost half were also in retirement’s early and active years – as were about half of the 20 who attended. What surprised me was not just how many retired people wanted to attend. It was also the number of questions and issues people raised. Some were wanting to know what Christianity was all about. Others admitted their faith had grown cold and needed to re-examine the basics. All this proved something very important to be true. That God could wonderfully use my experience from the past in my new era of life. This past experience had included selecting the right people for a job, building teams, planning events and a lot public speaking. My church life had involved leading Bible Studies and some preaching. And the Alpha course brought all this into play. Indeed, this has proved to be one of my life’s most fulfilling and rewarding experiences. It was truly amazing to see God changing lives, watch faith being rejuvenated and see people’s questions answered. Equally wonderful was what this meant for those at the same stage of life as me and serving as discussion group leaders and helpers. They too had the awesome experience of seeing God at work. When the request came for the team to run a second course, our ‘yes’ was without hesitation. We called it Daytime Alpha – making it available to anyone free during the day. Again, we saw people coming to faith and others whose faith came alive again. In particular, I think of John and Joyce. This lovely couple in their late 60’s were steadily moving through retirement with no live relationship with Jesus. And their daughter had long been praying for them. God opened their spiritual eyes and their lives were transformed. Soon after they moved to the South Coast and now have their own ministry among retired people in their new church. This is how, in the first year of my retirement, I discovered what great blessings God gives us when we make available the past experience and abilities he has placed in our hands. That is also the way it has continued and – ‘please Lord’ – may it do so for many years to come. Chris Matthews For more on using your own workplace skills and experience in your retirement visit our web page – Serving And to share your own experience join our Facebook group. We’d love to hear from you.