Alfonso "Alf" Clark has over 13 years of ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ in diverse settings in West Michigan. To say he is enthusiastic about ministering to families, teaching the Word of God to people and loving kids is an understatement. He has been married to Carrie for over 16 years and they have 7 children. He says, "Family is the place where real ministry should happen. Churches, schools and other ministries are to come alongside parents and guardians to play a part in discipling the next generation of Jesus followers."
Alf is passionate about the ministry of discipleship in families. "Discipling others is a must. A ministry or family that is only teaching and not discipling others is like the Dead Sea. Fresh water runs in, but no water flows out. The water sits and becomes stale to only evaporate. Virtually nothing can live in it. This is the same for a ministry or family with only really good teaching coming in and no discipling others going out. The ministry becomes a spiritually Dead Sea."
Alf’s emphasis on discipling came from teaching and ministering at Tabernacle Community Church where he has served for 6 years as the youth and children's pastor. He has also taught for 6 years as the 9th and 12th grade Bible teacher at the Potter's House High School; for 4 of those years he served as the assistant principal. He also ministered for 5 years at the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Church ministry called The Heritage Hill Sunday School. "Someone once asked me what teaching and preaching style I had when it comes to the Word of God? I answered, "Relevant and experiential storytelling. If Jesus used parables/stories, why shouldn't I when teaching and preaching the Word of God?" He is known for teaching with passion and managing with compassion.
Alf has a knack for talking about the obvious things that people don't want to talk about. This certainly comes from the life experiences God has brought him through growing up with 8 sisters and 2 brothers in a single-parent home just north of Detroit. Since coming to Grand Rapids in 1992 on a full basketball scholarship to Grand Valley State University, Alf has learned quite a bit about the church landscape. He says, "Too often our churches have a holy huddle, a ‘This is mine!’ mentality and have developed a racial divide that hinders the advancement of the Kingdom of God. In many of the places I have worked, God has used me as a bridge connecting different cultures and races."
Alf is excited about where God has called him to serve next. He says, "I know Urban Family Ministry (UFM) does not exist to replace churches, but instead assist churches in ministering to the whole family. What excites me about UFM is coming alongside staff, volunteers, families, churches and other ministries to maximize the impact of the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in our neighborhoods."
Alf holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology-Special Education with endorsements in Emotional and Cognitive Impairment and a Minor in Elementary Education. He serves on the board of directors for Hope Academy of West Michigan, an urban charter school.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." Psalm 127:1