This week, our Bible Study group, alongside others started looking at the parts of the Alpha course.
I first did Alpha about twenty years ago while I was the Minister at Tapanui in West Otago. It hadn’t been done before in that church, so it took a huge amount of effort to be trained, go to Alpha conferences (in Christchurch!), organise the location for each evening, organise the preparation and supply of lovely meals, approach people to see if anyone wanted to do it and so on. That first time, we had a great response and from memory, between thirty and forty people took part. We then ran it several times more over the years which carried with it a similar load of hard work from those of us heading it up. But in that time, so many folks learned about the Christian faith or if already a Christian, had their faith refocused, retuned and sometimes put straight in their belief or should I say, what they believed being Christian meant.
Once here at First, I ran a few more courses before Dennis and Noelene Cossey continued running it for the next few years.
I have to say, that of all the courses and/or programmes I’ve ever seen where pre-believers can come, feel welcomed and can learn in a safe environment, nothing has beaten Alpha. Whether a long-term existing Christian or someone who is just enquiring, Alpha works wonders. For those of us who’ve been a Christian even for decades, it is a wonderful tool to help us be refreshed in what we believe and why we believe it. It is far from boring, and even though I have personally done it so often, there is literally always something in it from which I am blessed in my faith-walk.
So my point in this snippet? Don’t let opportunities like this pass you by. If not for you today, what about that family member or good friend or neighbour across the road who you think might like to find out more about the big questions of life, but no-one has given them any help to find out; no one has asked them?
Truth is, we must grow as a fellowship. It’s a mandate from the Bible. We must carry the Gospel into every nook and cranny. We simply must not while away out time in our own comfort and say “I’m alright mate”, for God is calling each of us to reach up, reach out and call in those currently lost to Him.