A new friend sat across the table at the local deli, eager to tell me what had happened to him.
“On the third week, when Nicky Gumble led in prayer, I prayed with him and gave everything to God. I told God I couldn’t do anything without him and didn’t want to try. Up until then I had some good days and some bad days, well, really a lot of bad days and some OK days, full of anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. All of that is gone. I felt this incredible lightness after I prayed. I’m sleeping the night through now, and I’m so happy.”
That was in 2011, about five weeks into our first Alpha Course, and conversations like it have continued to happen ever since. That’s the reason our church will offer Alpha in September for the eighth time since 2011. I’m writing today to ask you to pray for the course and for friends you might invite this summer.
Haven’t heard of Alpha? Wonder what it’s like?
The Alpha Course is completely apolitical. More importantly, it isn’t built around a sales pitch of the gospel. It is a course, Christianity 101 if you will, founded instead on two fundamentals: Process and Community.
Learning is a process that happens best when we are in the presence of friends. This is what makes Alpha so enjoyable and encouraging. No one is pressured to “buy” anything and all questions are welcomed in a community of friends who’ve gotten to know one another through shared meals and laughter.
Alpha is for everyone. People who have attended church all their lives will enjoy it. Those who’ve never entered a church or considered Christianity will also enjoy it and come away enriched, with new understanding and new friends.
The Alpha Course Team, the people who make the event happen each fall, consists of two parts: task force, and hosts / facilitators. The task force prepares the meals and handles logistics. The hosts / facilitators make guests feel welcome and facilitate small-group discussions. The only prerequisites to serving on the team are to have attended the course at least once and meet a few times prior to launch for prayer and training.
One of the most important things our Alpha team has learned over the years is that the primary reason people attend the course is because a friend has invited them. So even if you choose not to serve on an Alpha Course team, your prayers for and invitations to friends really count. Of course you’ll also want to attend with whomever you invite.
The coolest thing in the world is to sit with new friends, see the peace and joy on their faces, hear how awesome it is to know that they are loved and cared for by the Creator of heaven and earth, and know that we got to play a small part in their rendezvous with Jesus.
Interested? Visit http://alphausa.org.