Three years into The Alpha Conference, churches and leaders are finding that just like the Alpha course itself, each year builds momentum. Pastors are seeing major spiritual and cultural shifts happening within their churches and teams. We interviewed two dedicated leaders who are bringing their entire Alpha teams, staff, and volunteers to The Alpha Conference 2020 (TAC20).
Phil McCallum, the lead pastor of Evergreen Church, has effectively run Alpha for 20 years, first in Australia, then Hawaii, and now Seattle. Their church has had more than 1,600 people on Alpha in the last three years alone. “Alpha isn’t a course we do. It’s who we are,” Phil explains.
In the last few years, they have also enthusiastically embraced The Alpha Conference. The first year Pastor Phil and few members from his staff attended. The second year, they took 26 people. For the 2020 Alpha Conference Evergreen plans to bring upwards of 100 people! Their group will include around a dozen church staff members and a large number of Alpha leaders and volunteers. When discussing TAC’s importance Phil explains, “There’s nothing like a conference to open people’s eyes and teach them. I can tell them about it, but when they talk with others and see with their own eyes--it takes the energy level of the church higher.”
Evergreen Church sees a longterm church culture shift as a major benefit to bringing a large group to TAC. “100 people go to Arizona and come back with a commitment to the life of the church. It expands vision. Vision has to be seen. They hear the stories. There’s a lot that happens in that time block, it’s not very long but it’s very impactful,” Phil explains. Evergreen is in a unique situation in that 96% of their surrounding community does not attend church; they decidedly focus on reaching those people.
When discussing his decision to return to the Alpha Conference year after year, Phil refers to being impressed with the speaker and worship lineup last year, loving the diversity of attendees, and the residual impact of the conference in opening their church’s eyes. “The nature of the Alpha course brings together a unique type of person who want to see their own friends come to Christ. When you get a bunch of people with an Evangelistic outlook in one place you find kindred spirits. It’s powerful to see God moving in all types of churches. You sense the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and that there is a national evangelism movement happening.”
Sun Valley Community Church in the suburbs of Phoenix took a slightly different approach.
After feeling the call to lean deeper into evangelism and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit, Alpha leader Katrina Moore decided to take 20 prospective leaders to The Alpha Conference first. “We waited to launch our Alpha until after the conference, to be super pumped up and equipped. It worked.”
Even though Sun Valley Community Church was in a busy season, Katrina did not want to delay starting Alpha. “If this is what I think it is, I don’t want to wait. I don’t want someone who doesn’t know Jesus to wait six months,” she recalls.
Katrina wanted their team to be unified and prepared, “We all have a shared vocabulary when the whole team goes together. You start from a common ground with what you’ve experienced and what you're trying to communicate and do. To have a big booster shot of faith and the Holy Spirit’s power in just two days is amazing.”
A major draw of TAC for Katrina and Sun Valley Community Church is the emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit. “The conference was a little bit about Alpha and a whole lot about the Holy Spirit and prayer. The experience was incredible. We all came back with a new appreciation for the Holy Spirit and what he can do. It’s not just Alpha, it’s the Holy Spirit moving throughout all of our churches. If you’re not praying you’re missing out on what He can do in your life and the lives of those around you.”
Like Phil, Katrina also referenced unity within her church and within the body of Christ, as a motivation to return this year. “I loved experiencing the leaders from the different denominations. It spoke to unity of the whole body of Christ. Our mission is to help people meet, know, and follow Jesus. We feel like Alpha is a key component of the ‘meeting.’ Our goal in 2020 is to take every key leader and prospective leader in our church. If you’re bringing a team, it’s a unifying experience to all share together.”
Are you coming to TAC20? Considering bringing a large group? Find discounts for groups on our conference web page.
The Alpha Conference is for everyone looking to share the love of Jesus. For more information on the 2020 Alpha Conference click HERE.