How alpha strengthens the local church
While it teaches about God's love, the Alpha course helps guests experience that love, as well. Every part of the Alpha course is designed to tell people: Your thoughts matter. Your questions are relevant. Your life is valuable. It’s a message that’s applicable to all people. Spiritually, Alpha has been described as:
A growth engine
Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor at Willow Creek in Chicago has these comments on Alpha's potential impact.
An open door
Alpha is an open door to people outside your church. It's a way for those who are not believers or church-goers to come and learn what Christianity is all about. It's informal and relaxed so people can drop their defenses and ask their questions. No question about life or God is seen as too simple or too hostile. It's about exploration and discovery.
A place to begin
The Alpha course began over 25 years ago at Holy Trinity Brompton in London as a means of presenting the basic principles of Christianity to new Christians. Today, Alpha is still a place for new believers to get rooted in the faith. The Alpha course teaches only the basic, biblical teachings that all Christians agree on. It doesn't argue different views on the mysteries of faith. Because of this, it's relevant for all denominations.
Some churches present Alpha to visitors and Sunday morning attendees as a path for delving deeper into the congregation. It's a short, no-pressure commitment. And while they explore your church, you have the opportunity to serve and embrace this group of people who sometimes slip through the cracks.
Alpha changes lives - including the lives of believers. Many churches start the Alpha course by simply inviting their members to attend. By the end of the course, people find themselves refreshed in their faith and energized to share the experience with others. Usually they grab the opportunity to lead and serve on the next Alpha course. Before you know it, you have new leaders springing up in your congregation.
Whatever the reason for starting an Alpha course, be ready. Alpha changes lives and it changes churches.
Hear Pastor Rick Warren describe the impact of Alpha all over the world: