Dallas/Fort Worth—The U.S. arm of ministry leader Alpha International is poised for a new surge of growth through its world renowned evangelism program, the Alpha course. The 10-week small group experience for those within and outside the church promises to bring spiritual life-change into U.S. cities and towns, churches, workplaces, homes, cafeterias, prisons and universities. And, yes, into the hearts of thousands of people—changing, renewing and transforming them for Christ.
Alpha course is about new beginnings and setting life-change in motion in ways that have proved effective around the world. Since it was launched in London’s Holy Trinity Church-Brompton (HTB) in the late 1970’s, and with the introduction of Alpha Publishing in the early ‘90’s, the Alpha course has reached 18 million people in 169 countries and in 113 languages. Great Britain, France, Japan, South Africa and dozens of other countries have seen huge increases in the number of personal commitments to Jesus Christ. According to various research studies, one-half of participants in Alpha make a commitment or recommitment to Christ.
Not only has Time magazine asserted that the Alpha course has sparked an unexpected and largely unnoticed spiritual awakening in HTB’s London, where crowds of young people “line up hundreds deep each week” for the next Alpha gathering, but it also reveals, “Many claim Alpha has changed their lives and appear genuinely happier for the experience.” Newsweek notes, “Alpha. . . uses modern methods to promote and explain Christian teachings around the world.” And Susan Lee, senior editor of Forbes exclaims, “It works. I can testify to that. Indeed, it even worked for snobby old me.”
Great headway has been made in the U.S., with three million people in all 50 states impacted and every major denomination (127 total) participating. As a result, thousands of new transformation stories are on the horizon and gathering energy. Dr. Rick Warren, founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose-Driven Life, agrees. The Alpha course is “one of the most effective tools for the 21st century,” he says. The New York Times reports, “This novel approach to Christian education . . . has been catching on nationwide.”
Regarding Alpha course Dr. Tim Keller states “it’s right for our time”.
Alpha USA president Gerard Long explains, “Alpha USA is a practical introduction to the teachings of Christ. It allows people outside the church—where it’s aimed—to come and ask the big questions: Why is there all this suffering in the world? What about the other religions? What happens when I die?”
Set in a non-judgmental environment of acceptance, small group participants come to the truth through dialogue and discovery. They find answers to the deepest longings of their souls, he asserts, “we get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do what only the Holy Spirit can do—which is lead people to Jesus.”
“In the last four years in the U.S., we’ve seen 175% growth in the number of churches running Alpha,” Long adds. This indicator will continue to rise as Alpha Publishing USA offers both its highly-successful outreach course and the balance of its product line through general and Christian bookstores and on its interactive AlphaUSA.org.
International bestsellers from Alpha USA include an extensive product line of resources by Nicky Gumbel, Alpha’s founder and HTB’s senior pastor, as well as The Marriage Course and Gerard Long’s recent modern-day parable, The Breakthrough. The product pipeline is full of engaging resources for evangelism and spiritual growth with two new parenting courses slated for publication in early 2013.