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Information about The Alpha Course

What is The Alpha Course?
All over the world the Christian church is experiencing remarkable growth. New shoots of life are springing up giving fresh dynamism, hope and vision. The Alpha Course is one of these shoots.

Hundreds of Christian Alpha courses are now running in many countries. Hundreds more courses register each month as church leaders from all Christian denominations report the astonishing impact the course has on non-churchgoers and existing Christians in their areas. And it's spreading fast to many secular locations - prisons, businesses and schools.

Information on The Business Alpha Course

The Alpha Course was developed at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in 1977-9 by Charles Marnham and later improved by Nicky Gumbel. When Gumbel joined the church’s staff in 1986, he noticed that unchurched people were attending Marnham’s class. He adapted the series for "guests" -- people who knew little or nothing about Christianity -- and recorded it as 15 video lectures.
Over the past 20 years, Alpha is a 15-session practical introduction to the Christian faith. It's aimed especially at people who don't go to church. At Holy Trinity Brompton Alpha courses are held throughout the year and have hundreds of people attending each week.

The Alpha Course for Kids and Children

The syllabus for the course is contained in the book Questions of Life. Some courses are held during the day. Most are evening courses. At the evening events, there is a light meal followed by a talk on a subject central to the Christian faith. Then participants break into pre-arranged groups of around 10-12 people (in which they remain for the entire course) to discuss the talk in an environment where each person should feel free to ask or express whatever they wish. A team of around three or four 'leaders' or 'helpers' from the host church are attached to each group. There is also a weekend away during which the subject of the Holy Spirit is addressed.

Christian Alpha Course on wikipedia

Alpha on TV -

How did Alpha Course begin?
The Alpha course has been running for 20 years, but it was only in 1993 that its astonishing possibilities as a vehicle for evangelism began to emerge. This is the story of how it happened:

Australian Alpha Course - The Alpha Course In Auatralia

Twenty years ago, Charles Marnham, a clergyman at Holy Trinity Brompton, London, began looking for a means of presenting the basic principles of the Christian faith to new Christians in a relaxed and informal setting. He devised the Alpha Course.

HTB Brompton on The Alpha Course

The talks addressed such questions as 'Who is Jesus?', 'How and why do I pray?' and 'How does God guide us?'. When Charles Marnham moved on, others took over leadership of the course and made their own changes. By the time Nicky Gumbel took over Alpha in 90 the course was a central feature of the church's life, with the number of participants regularly totalling around 100 people on each course.

US American Alpha Courses in USA

It was while leading his second Alpha course that Nicky made a discovery which transformed the church's whole approach to the course and gave it a new dynamic. As he looked around the 13 members of his 'small group', he realized to his surprise that apart from the three Christian helpers, all the other 10 members of the group were non-churchgoers.

The Alpha Course in Ireland

"They had all the normal objections: 'What about other religions?'; 'What about suffering?', and so on - and we had a stormy first six weeks," he said. Then they went away on the weekend and all 10 announced their Christian conversion together.

Article about HTB Pastor Nicky Gumbel

The experience transformed Nicky's thinking about Alpha. He realized how this simple course in basic Christianity could become a powerful medium for evangelism. He quickly worked to give the course the kind of ‘feel’ that would be particularly attractive to non-churchgoers.

An oposition to The Alpha Course - pls make your own mind up!

The method of welcome, the atmosphere of the small groups, the food, the seating, the flowers, the sound, and the material of the talks themselves were all changed to make them as attractive as possible to the person who walked in 'off the street'.

He emphasised to the Alpha small group leaders that no question should be treated as too trivial, threatening or illogical. Every question would be addressed courteously and thoughtfully - and none would ever be 'pestered' if they chose not to continue with the course. Nicky Gumbel explains: "It's all friendship-based. There's no knocking on doors - it's friends bringing friends."

One of the greatest areas of growth recently has been in the prisons, with 125 of the 162 prisons in the UK now running the course and in 48 countries. Alpha is also running in churches, homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and over 74% of UK universities.

More on The Alpha Course: The 03 survey by MORI shows that 9.5-10 million adults across Britain now know about The Alpha Course and approximately 1.6 million are estimated to have completed an Alpha course. The MORI report revealed, ‘A fifth of British adults are aware that The Alpha Course is a Christian course. This is the highest level of awareness of the Alpha course since the start of measures in 1999.’

National Alpha Initiatives have also been launched in New Zealand, Canada and Australia and in many other countries, including the United States, where plans are being made for their own initiatives.

Alpha International, Holy Trinity Brompton, Brompton Road, London SW7 1JA,

You should also for balanced reading, see what some people who are opposed to The Alpha Course are saying... though I don't necessarily agree - there is some truth in what they say about the seriousness of the Christian message I do agree. See what you think but remember nobody - not even the church is pefect and we can only do our best - and let's hope that doesnt mean descending into worldliness. Read with an open mind and see what God tells you about the ways we can preach to a modern generation that in many senses is out of control - no easy task!

"The campaign included distribution of "Millennium Survival Kits" in London’s Covent Garden by supporters of the Alpha Course. The Alpha people were dressed as street entertainers and sported party hats, and the kits they distributed were complete with Alka Seltzer, bottle opener, party hat, party popper, and an invitation to the Alpha Course. "By appearing like ‘one of the party crowd,’ it was evidently hoped to make the Christian faith slot comfortably alongside the usual pursuits of modern-day urban life" (Christian Research Network Newsletter, No. 7, 1999, Essex, United Kingdom).

What confusion! The world needs to know that the things of Christ are of great solemnity. True Christianity is about life and death, Heaven and Hell. Bible Christianity is not a worldly party; it is redemption from sin by the blood of Christ and holiness of life to the glory of Christ. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17). The preaching of the Gospel in the early churches was accomplished with great solemnity. Can you imagine John the Baptist passing out party poppers to the self-righteous Jews outside of Jerusalem, or the Apostle Paul distributing party hats to the unsaved idolaters at Athens!

Just as the Bible prophesies, the world in these end times is filled with unscriptural churches that preach a false gospel, worship a false christ, and are empowered by a false spirit". (Matt. 24:3,4,11,24; 2 Cor. 11:1-4; 2 Peter 2:1,2; 1 John 4:1; Jude 3,4).


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