Monday, September 28, 2009

Alpha Groups

Though the author admits this is not (or not yet) a Church Planting Movement (CPM), he takes some time to describe a program that is being used with success in England.  This is the Alpha Program.  From the book...

...The Alpha Program is an introduction to the core truths of the Christian faith built around a setting of openness to inquiry.  Lasting 15 weeks, the course focuses on non-Christians, often meeting in homes rather than in the church building, typically including a shared meal, welcoming skeptical questions, and resulting in an astonishing number of conversions....

First, it gets non-believers into small groups meeting in the homes of believers.  Second, it actually encourages difficult questions that non-Christians have, without feeling a need to answer every question.  This is very important.  Christians think they have to have an answer for every question.  Non-Christians want to know that they are free to ask--asking is more important to them than receiving a half-baked answer.  Third, by the time the 15 weeks is over, it is often the small group itself that converts the non-Christian.

Today there are thousands of people in Alpha Groups and thousands of churches that have begun to use them effectively to reach people in Europe who have considered themselves "post Christian."  It will be interesting to see if these Alpha Groups could spark a house church planting movement across the continent of Europe which is filled with ancient and empty cathedrals.

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