Archives For Alpha

The Opportunities at Alpha

September 9, 2015

Dear Friends,

I write you with an amazing two-fold opportunity.

Beginning Monday, September 14, we will kick-off The Alpha Course at St. Andrew’s. Over the past 20 years 5000+ people have participated in an Alpha Course at St. Andrew’s. And, as Alpha is a global phenomenon, over 15,000,000 people have participated in the course from every country and culture on the face of the planet. It has been a primary means by which the Spirit has grown and deepened our relationships with God and with one another here at St. Andrew’s.

What happens on The Alpha Course?

The Guardian newspaper wrote, “What Alpha offers, and what is attracting thousands of people, is permission, rare in secular culture, to discuss the big questions – life and death and their meaning.”

Bob Buford, of Leadership Network, says, “Most of us skip bases in developing our faith, leaving us plagued with unanswered questions. Alpha fills the gaps. Alpha fosters spiritual peace and stability.”

Over a 9-week period you will have the opportunity to explore the foundational teachings of Jesus Christ and to ask your questions of faith and spirituality. Unlike “programs” which simply seek to present a body of information, Alpha is geared toward the development of relationships – you relationship with God and with other people who are asking the same kinds of questions that you are asking.

Each night begins with a dinner, a talk (this year’s speakers are Rob Sturdy, Todd Simonis and me) on a topic like:

  • Why did Jesus die?
  • How does God guide us?
  • How do we deal with the problem of evil and suffering?
  • Does God heal today?

You will then have an opportunity to meet in small groups for discussion – discovering with others the joy and security of a living faith grounded in Christ.

The Opportunities

Back to my initial statement: you have an amazing two-fold opportunity before you.

First, God means for you to be sure of your faith in Christ. Sure that it has relevancy for today, sure that He is with you, and sure that your faith in Christ will see you through this life. One of the saddest things I’ve seen as a priest/bishop are folks who gave insufficient attention to their spiritual health and then were surprised when trials and suffering befall them and their faith faltered. If you would like to register for the Alpha course visit AlphaCharleston.com.

Secondly, over the past decade we have asked our new members why/how they came to St. Andrew’s. 80% of them said it was because a family member, friend, work colleague, or neighbor invited them to come to St. Andrew’s. 80%!

God has placed into your hands the privilege and responsibility of sharing the Gospel message. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Quite literally, you are the one sent – sent to your families, sent to your colleagues and classmates, sent into the community to announce that God, in Christ, has come. And, what I want to do is to partner with you to reach your family and friends with the good news of Jesus Christ – you invite and we’ll present.

So, will you join me? Will you join me Monday night, September 14, as we together explore how our faith in Christ might deepen? Will you extend the wonderful, biblical, grace-filled invitation to “come and see” to the people in your world who are disconnected from Christ?

Together for the Kingdom,

Steve

Learn more about what others have said about Alpha

Most people end up at Alpha because a friend or family member cared enough to invite them. Who are you inviting?

Alpha begins this Monday, January 14 at St Andrew’s and on Wednesday, January 16 at Joe Pasta downtown. Register at AlphaCharleston.com.

 

 Alpha and the Holistic Vision of Church 

Written by The Revd Dr Graham Tomlin – Dean of St Mellitus College and

Principal of St Paul’s Theological Centre, Holy Trinity Brompton

The Alpha Course has proved a remarkable gift to the church. It has given millions of people across the world the opportunity to ask the big questions of life in a Christian setting. It has been one of the main methods of evangelisation in the church worldwide over the past decade. Yet perhaps its potential is only just beginning to be realised. Many churches have found that running an Alpha course and bringing people to faith is one thing, integrating them into the church is another. Sometimes people wonder if their Alpha Course ought to be made a little more like church so the shock is not too great when guests eventually do start coming regularly on Sundays. Instead perhaps another question needs to be asked: might the church need to become a little more like Alpha, so the gap is bridged the other way?

If Alpha is run in a struggling church and yet the church remains exactly as it always has been, then however often Alpha is run, it is unlikely to make much difference. The questions around the church need to come up sooner or later. Why is it important that people are integrated into the church? What might that church look like? What is church for anyway? What does a truly ‘Mission-Shaped’ church look like?

This brief article outlines a map for thinking about the church that begins to answer these questions. It also tries to give a theological rationale for what church is about, and how a programme like Alpha fits into the overall pattern of what church is and does.[1] It also illustrates this with a glance at how this works out in Holy Trinity Brompton, an example of a church that has been working on these things for many years.

The Big Picture

The story of the church begins, as does the Bible, with Creation. In creation, God creates a world that is different from him. He gives it space, freedom to grow and develop, an existence independent of his own. It is a world not of independent entities, but of delicate balances and relationships. There are a series of relationships set up in the first chapters of Genesis between God, humanity his image bearers, the animate creation, the inanimate creation and much more. In short in could be said that we therefore live in God’s world in a set of vital relationships, with:

  • God
  • Other People
  • The wider Creation
  • Ourselves
  • The gift of Language

The creation is made perfect, but not complete, just as a human baby might be perfect as a baby yet not a complete human being – it has to grow to maturity. Likewise, creation is ‘good’, yet it still has to develop, to be ‘subdued’ and ordered, developed to reach its full potential, and this task is given to humanity (Gen 1.28; 2.15) as endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit who broods over creation (Gen 1.2). As the early church theologian Irenaeus puts it: “What could the visible fruit of the invisible Spirit be, if not to make flesh mature and receptive of imperishability… The Holy Spirit is sent to the entire universe, and since creation, has been transforming it, carrying it towards the final resurrection.” Continue Reading…

Alpha at Joe Pasta

September 14, 2011

We had an amazing kickoff of our Alpha Course at Joe Pasta yesterday.

22 people, ranging from 19 – 75, participated. Pretty darn good for a new outreach adventure.

Great job Caitlyn (who is all things Alpha at SAMP)!

We had another fantastic launch of our Alpha Course tonight! There was a great feel in the room and well over 200 people were in attendance.

We’d love to have you join us for dinner and a talk (“Why did Jesus die?”) next Monday at 6.30 pm. Structured childcare, and dinner for the kids, is provided.

Hope to see you!

Someone Invited Me

August 29, 2011

Join us for “Revive”

August 23, 2011

alpha south carolinaJoin us for “Revive – a Prayer Event for Charleston, SC” sponsored by Alpha USA/Alpha South Carolina

We’ll gather at First Scots Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting Street, Charleston,  on Thursday evening, August 25th from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm as we come together as one body in Christ and ask the Lord to revive us for the work of outreach and discipleship in the greater Charleston area.

Rev. Christian Zebley from Montreat, NC and several pastoral leaders from Charleston area churches will come together to lead us in prayer as we pray for the world, our nation and the people and communities of the greater Charleston region.  The evening will begin with worship followed by prayer for specific people, churches and organizations.  Participants will be invited to pray for each of these important areas of intercession.  The evening will end with an opportunity for personal prayer ministry and uplifting worship.  Come join us as we ask the Lord to revive Charleston for Kingdom unity and work.  Join us for a special evening of prayer, Christian unity and fellowship.

Here is the detailed agenda:

7:00 pm  – Welcome and Opening Remarks – Margaret Cotton, Regional Director of Alpha South Carolina

7:05 pm  – Worship

7:20 pm  – Prayer for the Unity of the Church, The Rev’d Christian Zebley, Alpha USA

7:30 pm – Prayer for the World – The Rev’d Dr. Anthony Kowbeidu, St Andrew’s

7:40 pm – Prayer for the Nation – The Rev’d Marshall Blalock, First Baptist

7:50 pm – Prayer for the Greater Charleston Area (leaders, churches, schools, individuals, families, children) – James Rogers, Youth Pastor, First Scots

8:00 pm – Prayer for Evangelistic Outreach (Alpha and other ministries)  – The Rev’d Al Zadig, St Michael’s

8:10 pm – Individual Prayer Ministry (prayer stations with prayer ministers from participating churches)

8:25 pm – Closing Worship song and prayer

Bret from St. Andrew’s Church on Vimeo.

Off to London

June 6, 2011

I’m leaving this afternoon for London. The Alpha International Conference, which happens every other year, is being held this week at Holy Trinity, Brompton. I’ll be speaking as a part of the Sr. Leaders Track.

Then on Sunday I’m off to preach at Frog and Amy Orr-Ewing’s church plant, the Latimer Minster. Frog, heads up the work of planting the Latimer Minster while Amy is the UK Director of RZIM Trust and Curriculum Director for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

I’d welcome your prayers!

Following is a promo clip on the International Week.

Questions of Faith?

September 9, 2010

The Alpha Course starts this Monday, September 13th at St. Andrew’s.  Click here for more information.  See you there?