Resurgence of Alpha.
Many churches are rediscovering Alpha. I have spoken to many that either used to run Alpha, and now wish to get back into it, or where it has waned to a point where those in charge now hope to see it revived. Alpha is being remembered as a program where wonderful things have happened. It’s amazing just how many churches I call on where the response is something like, “We have done Alpha in the past. It’s a wonderful program.” To which the obvious response is, "Well...?" As well, many courses are being run, “under the radar,” so to speak, in small home groups not officially registered.
It’s not your grandfather’s Alpha.
One such church who ran its first Alpha after a hiatus of several years recently baptized two members of its current course. Both were young people, a young man in his teens, and a 22-year-old woman. Her testimony was especially powerful. In it, she describes how Nicky (Gumbel) makes Christianity so easy to understand. I was told there might be a third person, but, “…there are still some issues to be worked through. I found this encouraging, because it indicates that the two baptized were genuine conversions. (Sometimes, one might be tempted to think baptisms are counted like notches on a belt, but this caution indicates to me a true spirit of discernment on the part of the church leadership.) They are beginning another course immediately. But the main thing is that youth are the future of the Church, and Alpha, run well, is as relevant as ever, and relevant to all ages.
Alpha and Kingdom Growth.
Alpha is being run in growing, vibrant churches; churches, for instance, who have 700 young people at a weekly evening service; churches who have had to expand to accommodate growing congregations. It is being run in venues such as coffee shops, fitness clubs, university campuses and seniors homes where guests who might never come to a church setting can be introduced to Jesus.
Now, to be clear, Alpha is not primarily an individual church-growing program. It is a Kingdom building tool. But church growth is a natural outcome; a practically inevitable consequence.
And I’m not saying that Alpha is responsible for the growth of these churches. There are many other factors as well, of course, but their enthusiasm for Alpha may just be a sign of the attitude of outreach that has led naturally to such growth.
My prayer for everyone is that you rejoice in your knowledge of the resurrected, glorified and living Saviour, Jesus Christ, and that we all be open to the prompting of God to see His will be done here on earth. May we be obedient to however He wishes to use us, His fellow workers, in our whatever respective corners of this world He has placed us.
Blessings to all, The Lord is risen indeed,
Associate Regional Director, Alberta,
Alpha Ministries Canada