Leonard: Want to explore the Christian faith? Try Alpha
Because of the jobs I have had in various ministry positions, I tend to get into a lot of conversations about faith. Lately, these conversations have been dominated by people who have a negative taste in their mouths from some bad experiences with either a church or churchgoers but feel a void in their lives and want to explore the Christian faith in an out “of the box” way. They want to fill that void with God somehow but aren’t quite ready to walk into a Sunday morning service.
Enter Alpha. Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each session looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Over the last 40 years, Alpha has been run in over 100 countries and 26 million people have attended it.
My wife and I invited some of our friends to come to Alpha for four weeks at our house last fall. After the 10 of us had dinner we watched a 23-minute Alpha video and then let the discussion start. What we found out was somewhat shocking as most of the people said very similar things.
“I’ve wanted to talk about God and faith for years but it’s something that is never brought up in my circle of friends. If it is, I don’t have time to engage in the convo because of work, kids, etc. ”
“I have virtually no background or context in this area of life but have wanted to talk about it.”
The most common comment that almost everyone shared was, “I haven’t been to church in 30+ years, and I have so many questions but don’t know where to start.”
Everyone loved the conversations and, each night, at the end, at least one person said (with a sigh of relief), “I’m really glad that I came tonight. Thanks for inviting me.”
Welcome to Alpha: a meal, a talk, some discussion. There’s no cost, no judgment or follow up, just the chance to ask your questions about faith and God and share your ideas and opinions in a laid-back environment. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, consider yourself invited. If this sounds like something you’d like to invite a friend to, you’re both invited.
Alpha will take place from 6-7:30 on Tuesday nights for a few weeks starting on Feb. 25. We will meet above the Edwards Starbucks (accessible through the double glass doors near the “backdoor” of that Starbucks); just look for the Alpha sign outside.
After our Alpha was over, one of the women who attended told me that she had already invited two other friends and was glad that we had set aside time and created space specifically for people with questions, doubts, and past negative religious experiences to re-engage the topic in a laid-back environment.
For more info, either shoot an email my way, find me on Facebook, or go to alphausa.org. Hope to see you there!
Scott Leonard is the area director for Search Vail Valley. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org