Confession time – I have just completed the Alpha course and I was supposed to be helping out. However, I definitely got more out of it than I put into it.
I’ve been a Christian for a number of years now and always thought that Alpha was for people who had no faith, or perhaps had a bit and wanted to explore it. To be honest, that’s exactly who Alpha is aimed at. So, in my mind, I was clearly in the category of helping others to explore, rather than exploring for myself. My ‘road to Damascus’ experience has long passed.
But our God of surprises knew exactly what he was doing. I’m far more likely to make time to do something whereby I think I’m helping out, rather than making time for something for myself. God seized the opportunity to sit me down and refresh the foundation stones.
If you weren’t able to join the course this time, the quality of the videos and level of information was excellent. As a history geek I loved the list of primary sources for evidence of the life of Jesus Christ. The questions were challenging and our group discussions were fulsome. My group had just 6 people in it, from different stages in our faith journeys, and it was such an encouraging place to come each week. I won’t name and shame anyone, but I learnt so much from everyone there.
‘What next?’ I wonder. We all need the opportunity to talk about life’s big questions, to explore God’s plan for our lives, to dig deep into the Bible and figure out those passages that challenge us. It doesn’t matter how long we have been a Christian for, there is always more to discover and we all benefit from the company of others along the way. Fellowship, homegroups, personal bible study and quiet time are all possibilities. The church library shelves have many good books to borrow. Homegroups are always time well spent and welcome new members. ‘The Bible in One Year’ is a free daily Bible reading app with a commentary by the people who lead the Alpha videos. It can be downloaded on the App Store, Google Play and at https://www.bibleinoneyear.org.
For me, I’m a talker and a people person. It’s all about chewing it over with others, particularly over a coffee and a piece of cake. Lockdown has been hard, removing our face-to-face contact. But Alpha has reminded me that this can be done in different ways, and that spending time in fellowship with others and giving time to God, is critical not optional. Home Group, here I come!
[from Cat Rawlinson-Watkins]