Becoming a Christ Ambassador: Cortney Alexander

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Cortney Alexander

An interview with Grace@Work Bible study leader Cortney Alexander, Patent Lawyer

I met Cortney in his conference room. One of my companies was looking for a patent law firm to evaluate the strength of our patents. At the end of the meeting, I got up to leave and Cortney blocked my way. He said, “I heard about you. You are in marketplace ministry. I read about you on the High Tech Prayer Breakfast website.”

“What can I do for you?” I asked.

“Show me how to do marketplace ministry,” he said.

“You should attend one of the Grace@Work groups offered by our members. They are all over the city,” I said.

“Ok. I will,” he responded.

I figured I would never see him again. But the next week he showed up at my Grace@Work group at the ATDC. Then, in what seemed like no time, he was taking over the leadership.

Cortney is a gifted leader with deep knowledge of scripture. He comes prepared. He is a superb facilitator. Not only that, he also personally cares about everyone who attends. I’ve learned much from him.

Charlie
Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Ministries
 


Where: ATDC
Bible study leader: Cortney Alexander
When: 11:30 AM Tuesday
Open: Yes. Everyone welcome

Why did you start a Bible study?

I was interested in reaching people like me: people who went off to college and were pulled away from whatever relationship they might have had with God. Then they were too focused on career and family to make any time for him.

How did you get involved?

When I met Charlie in making a pitch for his company’s business, I stopped him on his way out the door to ask about HTM. He pointed me to the Grace@Work groups, and I signed up for the study at the Atlanta Technology Development Center in midtown. That happened to be the study Charlie and Blake Patton were leading.

In August 2016, I took over the study for several weeks while Charlie was out of town. Like Tom Brady when he filled in for Drew Bledsoe, I didn’t let go when he returned!

What is one story that demonstrates the study’s impact?

We’ve seen God at work in a number of lives since then. One is Tom Grant, a lawyer practicing technology law and commercial litigation. He joined our study for Discovery 2015 after attending the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. He’s since said that he didn’t know why he kept coming back those first few weeks, and, to be honest, I was a little surprised, too! But God kept drawing him back.

After some months of attending our study, Tom told a story about a personal turning point that occurred in an unexpected moment—in the midst of an argument with his wife. When (in the heat of the moment!) she questioned why he was even going to a Bible study, he responded, “Because I want to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!” I love his response!

How has your study grown?

We’re now preparing to split the study in two: (1) an introductory study for those exploring what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, and (2) an “ambassador training” study for those interested in diving deeper into the Bible to better prepare to live out the gospel in their daily lives.

I wonder when I’ll find myself out of town for a few weeks and return to find that God has raised up another person to lead people in the study of His word. For me, that journey started by attending a Grace@Work group.

We’d love to have you join us.

Connection and Commitment

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Connection and Commitment: Susan O’Dwyer and Curtis Cain

An interview with Grace@Work Bible study leader Susan O’Dwyer, Director of Business Development, Aprio

Curt and Susan make the perfect combination for a Grace@Work study. Curt loves the word of God and lives it every day. He has the gift of teaching. He is a master at asking questions that get you thinking deeply about your relationship with God.

Susan is one of the veterans of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. Her continued involvement has resulted in a bold witness in the marketplace. Many have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior because of Susan. God uses this woman big time.

Curt, Susan and I grew up together in the Atlanta technology community. We helped each other in business and encouraged each other in our faith. We prayed together during the good and bad times. They continue to build friendships in their study at the Concourse.

Charlie

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Ministries

Leaders: Susan O’Dwyer and Curtis Cain
Where: Aprio, Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA 30328
When: Friday 7:00 am to 8:00 am
Open: Yes. Everyone welcomed.

1. How long have you been leading a Grace@Work Bible study group? 

O’Dwyer: I co-lead a group with Curt Cain. We have had this group for 7-8 years (time flies!). Previously, I was in another Grace@Work group that Curt and Rusty Gordon co-led years ago.

2. Why did you start leading this Bible study group? 

O’Dwyer
: This was a definite call from God. When I heard that Curt had taken a new job that would not require travel, God spoke to me that I should encourage Curt to ‘re-up’ as a G@W leader.  He has an incredible gift for teaching. So I contacted Curt and told him what God had said.  

Curt was very polite, but also skeptical. He was, I’m sure, far more diplomatic than this, but his reaction was, “Thanks, but I’ll wait for God to speak to me directly.”  Which, of course, He did, and a few days later, Curt called me back, in utter amazement, and said, “God told me the same thing.” I said, “Told ya!”

3. What were your fears or concerns before starting?  

O’Dwyer
: None. I knew it was the right thing and completely trusted God would bring the people. I will say that I used to think, when God prompted me to invite people, “Really? You can’t be serious!”  

However, now, when I hear that voice telling me to invite them, I don’t even question or worry what their answer will be. They always show up. They may not always keep coming, but they always come at least once!

4. What has been the single biggest reward of doing the study? 

O’Dwyer
: Besides learning about God, building a family of caring people who I would never have gotten to know without this group.

5. How do you continue to grow your study?  

O’Dwyer
: We don’t. God does. He just tells us who to invite, and we do. I never question Him on this anymore. We also, every year, re-direct our study to the Discovery@Work model for six weeks.

6. What is a story of how your Bible study has had an impact? 

O’Dwyer
: Probably best to hear it directly from two members of the Bible study:

Kien Taing: “This was the first time that I had ever discussed the Bible around working professionals. Religion was always a politically incorrect topic to bring up at work, so I avoided it. I am constantly surprised how engaged my colleagues are when the topic comes up. I hope my story helps them take a step in the direction of Christ.”

Shane Peden: “My Grace@Work Bible study group has enabled me to forge multiple new relationships. These connections have impacted not only myself and family but also served as a gateway for me to share my faith in the workplace. 

"The best example that comes to mind was once one of my senior managers discovered that he and I had a common connection through one of my Friday morning study mates. 

“I am always delighted by the eclectic mix of personalities that weave themselves in and out of our meetings. These interactions inspire me to be a culture changer in my household, in the workplace and in the community.”

Starting a Bible Study with Others is Best

“I’ve been in a two-year discipleship program in my church. As we were about to start year three, I thought, isn’t it time I discipled others?” said Joe Yi to me in late November.

God's Call to Action

Joe was part of a Bible study I led at the Atlanta Technology Development Center a few years ago, and eventually he very ably led it himself.

He said God called him to work with me on starting a Bible study at the Atlanta Tech Village.

“Really?” I asked.

He said, “Will you meet with me so we can discuss it? I’ll meet you at the ATV. How about next Monday?”

Then I approached Kevin Sandlin who is the founder of the popular Pitch Practice community at ATV. He said, “I’d be happy to join you and Joe in a study at the ATV.”

God Moves, Even if I’m Not

I still didn’t do anything with these two guys except talk. As they say…talk is cheap. 

Last week, Kevin sent me an email that said, “Please meet John Duisberg, believer and co-founder of a startup and long time ATV member. We had lunch today because he reached out to me about starting a weekly ministry at ATV.”

“This is unbelievable!” I said to myself.

Finally this week I received an email from an old friend, lawyer and successful entrepreneur, Wayt King.

He commented on my blog post and finished his email by saying, “Also, do you have Tuesday Bible studies up at ATV or elsewhere on the north side of town?”

Next: Date, Time, and Room

We talked by phone, and he said he wanted me to start a Bible study at ATV. He will help any way he can. 

“What’s the next step?” he asked.

I said, “Set a date and time, and get a room reserved. Once this is decided, each of you will start inviting people.” 

“OK. What’s the date we start this thing at ATV?” he immediately asked.

I gave him a date which I thought would work. He told me it is on his calendar. He is ready to get started. 

We Serve an Awesome God!

This is how God works in calling people into marketplace ministry. They hear from Him and jump into action. They start reaching people like me who help them get started. 

I’m confident through the able leadership of these four men (Joe Yi, Kevin Sandlin, John Duisberg and Wayt King), God will populate this study with people he wants to hear his Word.

I love the ATV culture. If you want to do something which will feed community, David Lightburn and his staff are all for it. In fact, they will jump in and help. Even for a Bible study. 

Thanks to David and Karen Houghton for your leadership and for trusting me with your community.

You Are Invited

The new study will begin on Thursday, February 2 from 11:30-1:00. Lunch included. You are welcome to experience it and become part of this new community.