The Impact of Alpha in the Parish
Alpha is most effective in parishes that run it as part of an ongoing process of evangelisation – watch Father John Riccardo share the impact of running Alpha at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, Michigan:
In addition to being a time-tested tool for healthy and effective evangelization in the context of friendship, Alpha’s greatest impact might be the way it assists parish leadership in renewing the culture of their parishes.
For parishioners who participate in alpha as guests or on the Alpha Team, they often have the opportunity to come away with a renewed passion for certain values that can pair well with any renewal effort in the life of your parish:
On Alpha, guests are given a place to say what they really think and express what they really feel without judgment or expectation. This enables them to grow in trust and in friendship. It frees them to discover the presence of God and for most, to come to conviction to follow them as committed disciples of Jesus.
On Alpha, guests encounter a unique level of warmth, generosity, and attentiveness from Christians hosting the experience. When run properly, this is an expression of love which perhaps only those participating in the fruits of the spirit are capable of providing. This both enables guests to get a taste of what is special about Christian charity, and it convicts members of their own need to continue growing in hospitality and Christian charity.
Empowerment of Others
Alpha is very intentional about developing people in order that they might develop their gifts and abilities in service to the kingdom. Guests are invited to become helpers, helpers to become hosts, hosts to be key leaders, and key leaders are set loose to be a blessing to another part of the mission of the parish. In this way, Alpha functions as a kind of leadership pipeline to be a blessing to the whole Church.
Dependence on the Holy Spirit
One of the things we like to say about Alpha is that it is designed to fail unless God shows up. It trains team members to undergird all they do with prayer. It prepares guests to encounter God and his Holy Spirit, and it models a lifestyle of prayer and dependence upon God for all involved.
When run well, Alpha focuses not simply on encouraging those who already attend church, but especially on reaching those member of your extended community who are on the spiritual margins of society, those farthest from faith in Jesus.
Taken together, these values can assist parish leadership in shifting the temperature of the whole community, enabling everyone involved in the church to grow in their commitments to Listening, Hospitality, Empowerment of Others, Dependence on the Holy Spirit, and Evangelistic Intentionality.
If you are a pastor or a parish staff member who would like first-hand experience of Alpha, we would love to invite to be part of one of our upcoming Alpha Online Preview Experiences. To learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org