Posted by: Philip Rushton | September 27, 2013

Why The Alpha Course?

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This Wednesday we will be kicking off the Alpha Course. Alpha is a practical introduction to the Christian faith that gives guests the opportunity to ask questions and explore the meaning of life. Some of the questions this course tackles include: Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus die? What do I do after I believe? How do I pray? How can I get the most out of scripture? Is forgiveness possible? Why is there suffering in the world? And what is the purpose of life?

When I was planning out our fall groups and classes, Alpha seemed like an important addition to our church. When I surveyed the congregation last year one of the top courses requested was a course on the basics of the faith. This does not surprise me. If we are not intentional, our education programs at the church can easily offer a lot of “electives” but overlook the “core requirements” of the faith. It is quite possible for us to get caught up in the life of the church without ever having the chance to ask some fundamental questions about what we believe as Christians and how we can live out these beliefs in our day to day lives.

This course is for everyone. As I have prepared for the course I have found that the material engages both the seeker and the long time Christian. While it is accessible to those who are new to the faith it also provides helpful insights for those who want to take their faith to the next level. It is especially geared towards those who have given up on church, those who are new to the Christian faith, those wanting to investigate Christianity, or those who have a lot of unanswered questions.

The format of the course involves a 20-25 minute Alpha talk and then 30-40 minutes of small group discussion. The Alpha videos involve teaching from Rev. Nikki Gumble. Gumble is an Anglican minister from Holy Trinity Brampton in London, England. He has an excellent gift of communicating and teaching. As a part of the course we will also be hosting a one-night retreat at Canon Beach Conference Center in November (date TBA – probably Nov 15-16). At the retreat we will have an opportunity to get to know each other better, and work through 3 sessions of the course, and enjoy the beauty of Canon Beach. The cost for the retreat is very affordable – ranging from 38-57 dollars per person.

Here’s how you can help make this a success:

1. Pray: Specifically pray for those who might be visitors to our church, and for those who are new to the faith. This has potential to be a great outreach opportunity. Also be in prayer for our leadership team. Tyra and Jeremiah Smith, Sarah Rundell, Kris Weber, and myself are sharing the various tasks of organizing and facilitating the course.

2. Invite: Think of people you know who might benefit from this course. This is a great opportunity to invite people from outside our church. We have specific invitations that you can use to get the word out to your friends, neighbors and co-workers.

3. Participate: Come join the class, get to know others and grow deeper in your faith!

Here is a great video that captures the purpose and impact of the course.

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