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Alpha 2.0
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
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By Mike Toth


Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo’ I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

What do you think of, or what do you feel, when you read the Great Commission? Are you concerned with being perceived as narrow, intolerant, or even bigoted to suggest to others that there may be more to life than they think, or that they may be less complete than they believe?

For 20 plus years the Alpha Program, written by pastor Nicky Gumbel from Holy Trinity Brompton Church in England, has been one of the best tools that Christians have available to them to bring family members, friends, and acquaintances to faith in Christ. Alpha features 8-12 meetings allowing people of diverse backgrounds to explore the basics of the Christian faith in a friendly and informal setting. While the program is obviously evangelistic with the ultimate goal being to lead people to Christ, one of the keys to the success of the program is the low-key relational approach over the length of the course, allowing people to work out their views of Jesus and the faith over time.

So far, 29 million people in 169 countries in 100 different languages have attended an Alpha program. A Teen Alpha program started in 2011 has seen over 400,000 participants since inception. While Alpha is just one of many good Christian evangelism programs out there the Holy Spirit has certainly blessed it.

Recently Alpha got an update. While the formula remains basically the same (a meal, a video, and discussion over desert) the videos have been reformulated to better reflect modern audiences. The length of the videos has been cut from 42 minutes to under 30 minutes, and incorporates much more diverse footage. Scenes are kept short and crisp while still maintaining the integrity of the message of the original series. Shot in 11 countries the videos now feature testimonies and stories of Jesus from around the world. One such testimony is that of popular TV host Bear Grylls, who came to Christ through Alpha.

One of the goals of Alpha Canada, which had a major hand in the production of the new videos, was to be able to provide the materials free to Churches looking to run the program. To that end, over 3.2 million dollars was raised and the videos, along with a much more information about the Alpha program, are available at www.alphacanada.org.