The Alpha Course
The Alpha Course was developed by an Anglican church, Holy
Trinity, Brompton, in London. It has been widely used around the
world in almost every denomination as an introduction to the
Who is it aimed at?
The course is for those who want to investigate Christianity,
are new to a church or those who want to brush up on their basic
What form does it take?
The Alpha course consists of a series of talks looking at topics
such as "Who is Jesus?" and "Why and how do I pray?". There is a
meal together at the beginning of each session which gives an
opportunity to get to know each other. After each talk those taking
part divide into small groups for a time of discussion. The
organisers say: "Listen, learn, discuss and discover. And ask
anything. Alpha is a place where no question is too simple or too
Can it be adapted for Methodist churches?
There are no specific Methodist guidelines for doing Alpha since
any contentious points are more to do with differing styles of
churchmanship than with different denominational loyalties.
The main areas where organisers of a local course tend to
consider doing things differently are:
- The meal - it really does help to relax people
in an informal setting - be very disciplined on time!
- The talks - video or DIY - both work - it
really is a matter of personal preference. If you go the DIY route,
try to be faithful to the content even though illustrations may
change. If you give attendees the Alpha handbook, they should be
able to follow the main headings easily.
- The teaching on the Holy Spirit - Alpha is
very much a 'Charismatic' course. Its content is not at odds with
Methodist doctrinal emphases, but its experiential approach may
create difficulties if it is at odds with the rest of your church's
- The weekend away - many churches opt for an
awayday rather than a weekend - this can be made to work, but it is
more pressured than a weekend.
What about follow-up?
It helps to plan a house-group to take forward the work of the
Alpha course once it is over. The Alpha organisation strongly
recommend that organisers attend an Alpha Conference before leading
a course. They are a tremendous help.
To Find out more details about Alpha or locate the nearest
course to where you live visit the Alpha website: http://uk.alpha.org
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