Alpha Mayhem 1

Perhaps one of the greatest phenomena in the last decade of the 20th C was the emergence of Alpha as an evangelistic tool. It genuinely was a catalyst for many people coming to faith. I’m sure it still is in many quarters.I was just reading Steve’s diary where he comments on some of the struggle he has with Alpha and it got me thinking.

I ran Alpha 3 times at the last church I was involved with. Each time someone seemed to come to faith in some way or other, but then came the fourth time…

Unlike our previous groups that were overstocked with long in the tooth Christians who wanted to ‘bone up on the basics’, this group had a stack of real live pagans. Some were very serious about their paganism (literally) while others had just never explore Christian thought before. But there were probably 4 or 5 Christians and 4 or 5 newbies.

What made this group unique (compared to previous groups) was that all the participants were 40 or under. Other groups I had run were heavily baby boomered in their demographic.

This was my 4th time watching the videos… They were pretty good the first time, but perhaps a bit too long for my liking. I was buzzing with excitement about the interaction we were going to have (I looovve evangelism in any form!) but wondering how I was going to stay awake thru the vids. I was also wondering if it was just me, or if the videos weren’t really the right approach for a 20’s & 30’s group…

The first three weeks were fairly normal intro type stuff with people getting to know each other and engaging in some good discussion – some pretty earthy questions got asked and there was some healthy intellectual biffo. I sensed this group coming together better than others I had been involved with. The people liked one another, and I sensed God wanting to do something here.

On the fourth week (I think it is about the cross?) as Nicky Gumbel was closing in prayer I had a very strong sense of the holy spirit saying to me that someone wanted to become a Christian right there and then.

I don’t have those compelling ‘God impressions’ real often – so when they come I usually know its him and that I need to follow them. As he finished his prayer I decided that I was going to put it out there and see what happened. It might freak people out (4 weeks is not a long time) or maybe… just maybe someone might be ready…

More tomorrow.

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