December 1, 2016
Alpha concluded (at least in it’s big group form, Small Groups continue to meet) on November 20. Since then we have started the process of follow up and evaluation. From all accounts this has been a resounding success. We have had people start a relationship with God through Jesus, be healed from addictions, and encounter the Holy Spirit. Others have learned about their spiritual gifts, stepped out of their comfort zones, and experienced a non judgemental community like never before. God has done some amazing things this Fall as we have followed his leading. Thanks to everyone who has been involved. Your labour has not been in vain.
So, now what? Well, Alpha is about relationships. We will be having at least two small groups start as a result of the relationships formed around the tables on Sunday night. It would appear that every guest of Alpha would have a person or group to continue the discipleship relationship. These people are amazing in their commitment to seeing their new friends grow in their relationship with Christ.
One example is Lori Peters (Leader of Sunday Am and Monday Afternoon Alpha’s). When her and I met she let me know that she was able to build significant relationships that she plans to continue with. For many of our Chinese guests this was their first time hearing about Jesus. They met their first Christian that they could trust and they are wanting to know more about the person of Jesus. It’s not a quick process for someone who was raised believing there is no God but many of these people want to continue to learn about God from the Bible. One guest commented to Lori, “We need it” when reflecting on the difference between their upbringing and the teaching of the Bible. We need to pray for Lori, and the other new Small Group leaders as they continue to disciple these guests.
What about 2017? I’ve received a lot of good feedback from a wide variety of people. Here’s what I’m hearing:
- Fall 2017 seems to be a unanimous, “YES.” We’ll need to work through details in Spring but there seems to be a lot of momentum to do another Alpha in Fall 2017.
- January – April 2017 – “Yes, do Alpha, but different than what was just done (at least from the Sunday evening perspective)”. Ideas include meet during the week, focus on marriages, do desserts instead of a full supper, etc. Do it, but change something significant.
- Alpha is effective in Small Groups especially when a pre-existing relationship with an unbeliever/ non-church attender is present.
- There needs to be a more defined prayer group identified during this season.
- A committed leadership team is important.
Are you wanting to be involved with Alpha in January? Do you want to bring a guest? Please let me know. We are still at the place where we can adapt to what works for your schedule.
If you are hesitant to get involved in Alpha check out this quote from one of our Table Hosts:
[Alpha] was a powerful experience to say the least. Cannot say enough positive things about how clear and compelling the teaching is; how relaxed and enjoyable the evening supper format is; how the Spirit is using Alpha to draw people to himself; how refreshing it is to have honest conversations about faith, life, God and Christianity in a non-judgemental, open context. It is spiritually energizing for us (and we learned a lot also!) … and I’m confident that the Enemy hates it with a passion. Therefore we should keep doing it! 🙂
Blessings to you all and thanks for the encouragement this past Fall.
Have a great Christmas holiday.
- Just as I was about to send this out I received an update of a marriage that has been restored because of God’s love shown through an Alpha Small Group. Praise God!