About fifteen years ago, I became aware of the Alpha Course. My friend and business partner in Chicago had served on the Alpha International Board with Nicky Gumbel, the Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London and the global leader of Alpha. When Gumbel was interviewed as part of our NCS Five at Five series this past spring, I was happy to learn that the Alpha Course would be offered online for the first time, due to COVID-19.
So what is Alpha – and why did this online course offering excite me so much?
Alpha introduces non-believers, seekers, new believers and mature Christians to the important questions of life from a Christian perspective. It emphasizes hospitality and sensitivity to attract many who would not consider going to a church and encourages all participants to explore the big questions of life and faith. The course facilitates discussion among group members through high quality videos and engaging content, teeing up key questions such as: Is there more to life than this?; Who is Jesus?; Why did Jesus die?
By inviting participants to accept Jesus into their lives and inspiring all to be more active in their faith, the course has been extremely successful.
The slow-down that many of us have experienced due to COVID-19 restrictions gave my wife Jane and me the time to sign up for an Alpha online course. We signed up for an Alpha online course through Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), the global steward of Alpha. Since we had visited HTB a couple of times over the years while in London, we saw this as an opportunity to encourage seekers and connect with other Christians from Europe and were interested in pursuing it as a couple.
We were assigned to the 88th Alpha class, which launched this past spring. Our Alpha group consisted of our two London-based hosts (Joanna and Carolyn), two people from England (Robert and Sally), three from Southwestern France near the town of Poe (Bernice, Liz, and Debbie), a lady from Martha’s Vineyard (Janet) and a pastor and his wife from Corona, CA (David and Belinda).
Each Tuesday at 2:30 pm, we