Monday, 10 October 2011

Alpha week 1


On Sunday night we held the first session proper of our new Alpha Course.
This year we are running it with our friends and neighbours at The Abbey and St Peter's which has been fun as it is always good to meet other Christians.

The unusual start time of 6pm on a Sunday meant we are starting with pudding or cake rather than a full blown meal and this obviously suited enough people for us to break into 2 very viable small groups following Nicky Gumbel's talk.

I have run Alpha courses where I (or someone else) have delivered Nicky's talks live, but showing them on dvd is equally effective as long as the technology works fine which, thanks to Paul ,ours did last night.

I have heard these talks probably 20 times or so over the years and have therefore heard the jokes and illustrations that Nicky uses to hold peoples attention many times. After a while they do stop being funny BUT what cannot be denied is that he is a great communicator who gets across the essential facts in a memorable and easy to understand way , that last night provoked plenty of discussion.

However having used Alpha and other courses, in different churches over many years,I am convinced it really is all about relationships and providing a safe space for people to explore the Christian faith for themselves

We finished in good time and I was delighted it was a very promising first session


  1. I am trying to find a place in my heart for all things Alpha. I confess that at present it feels like the big Redwood under which no other plant may grow. Thanks for this post, however - I have a hunger for knowing more than do (and to be convinced that it isn't bordering on the exploitative and the mindgame [I am a priest with a very open mind, I am have never summonsed the Holy Spirit in the way that Fr Gumbel seems to manage]).

    I wonder at times if it isnt too pneumatoligical and not christological enough, but that might just be me.

    In any case, good luck - my God cause you to thrive in all your endeavours.

    (I am remaining anonymous for genuine fear of repercussion, as I live in the heartlands of the Mighty denomination that is HTB)

  2. Thanks for that.
    I have heard those comments or similar before.One person last night said the course would be better if it started with creation rather than Jesus and for some people that will be true.
    I think the course is christological but it is also from a charismatic stable, so for some the pneumatological influence is too strong.
    We do adapt the course though for our culture
    I have used others of these courses in the past like Christianity explored, The Emmaus Rd, and we even wrote our own called Just Looking ,they all went well .What I took from that was that actually it is not so much the course material as the realtionships and the opportunity to be honest and open that is the key
    Thanks and all the best!

  3. "I believe the church should be a loving, caring community where it is safe to ask questions and to voice doubts and differences of opinion." - quoted from my yet-to-be-circulated ministry profile.

  4. agreed radical believer