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.
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,