If we’re honest, we can be prone to place limits on God when we face difficult circumstances. We have experiences that tell us God shows up in certain predictable ways. But the God of the Bible is not predictable. He loves breaking out of our boxes and exceeding our every expectation.
In new environments and using new tools, it’s easy to question if God will still show up like he has before. When groups moved to Alpha online, it was natural to wonder if God would still show up as powerfully in that new setting as he had in the traditional, in-person setting.
Here’s what we want to tell you today: God is showing up through Alpha Online just as powerfully as he has in the past.
God has been surprising participants in Alpha with the depth of community that is still being developed–even in front of a screen. Allison Park Church in Pennsylvania recently asked their Alpha group to summarize what they experienced during their Alpha online course and shared this with us:
“Literally EVERY SINGLE ONE answered with community, community, community, community. Everyone said relationships. One woman used the term ‘my Alpha family.'”
People are still being drawn together by God’s Spirit, even at a time when the enemy would like to draw them apart through isolation and division. Friendships are still being made and lives are still being changed for Jesus.
When Lindsay first came to Alpha at Evangel Assembly of God in North Dakota, she knew of Jesus, but wasn’t following him. Through Evangel’s online Alpha, she grew to know Jesus personally as her Lord and Savior. She started attending church, reading her Bible, and was baptized. Her faith is now her own and her whole life is changing.
Tom, at Mary Our Queen Catholic Church in Nebraska, credits attending a virtual Alpha with giving him a purpose and direction for his future, deepening his prayer life, and renewing his desire to be involved at his church. Before, he felt aimless and and is now near to God’s heart and desire for his life.
At Substance Church in Minnesota, after an online Alpha session, a guest felt the Spirit prompt him to reconnect with his estranged daughter. He followed that prompting and re-established a relationship with his daughter, with whom he hadn’t spoken in three years.
These are just a few stories of lives that have been changed through the local church running Alpha online during the COVID-19 shutdown.
God’s Spirit is not limited by setting. He is just as comfortable changing people’s lives in their living rooms and kitchens as in a church sanctuary or a Bible study classroom. He is graciously still using the local church and Alpha to exceed all of our expectations.
There is a history of God’s Spirit healing physical and non-physical injuries during Alpha sessions and some wondered if this would continue happening when we couldn’t meet together, lay hands on each other, and pray for one another in a physical setting. Again, God is not limited! We have received stories of churches still experiencing an outpouring of God’s Spirit through Alpha Online, just as they did with Alpha in person.
Patrick gave his life to Jesus through Alpha. He became a helper, and then a leader, and he was hosting an Alpha session when Alpha moved online. Just before the Alpha session on healing he injured his shoulder, requiring surgery. That week a guest speaker gave the session talk, sharing how he injured his shoulder and that God had healed him. He prayed for a similar healing for Patrick, and God heard them. Patrick’s pain improved dramatically, and his doctor confirmed he no longer needed surgery. God moved in a powerful way, showing Patrick and his Alpha group the he can still work miracles–even over Wi-Fi.
This is just a sampling of the stories we are hearing; if you have experienced God at work through your online Alpha, we’d love to hear your story as well. Share your story with us here.
This is the fourth in a series of six posts sharing the journey of moving Alpha online, and the discoveries we’ve found along the way as we’ve come alongside the Church to serve and equip leaders in this unique cultural moment. See previous posts by clicking on the title below:
Caring for Community in Crisis
Connecting Community in Crisis
Creative Hospitality in a Virtual Environment
Interested in learning about how you can run Alpha online this fall? Find all the resources you need here. Whether you run online or in person this fall, be sure to register your course to get the latest resources to support your Alpha.