Learn & Grow

From time to time there are various learning opportunities offered. At present there are:

Alpha

Who is Alpha for?

The Alpha course is designed primarily for people who aren't churchgoers and each course is open to everyone who would like to attend.

Most courses attract a diverse range of guests of different ages and backgrounds, holding many different viewpoints. People find out about the Alpha course in a number of ways - a recommendation from a friend, a poster, flyer, newspaper article or advert, or through the website or an internet search.

Guests attend for a wide variety of reasons - some want to investigate whether God exists; others are concerned about what happens after death. Some people have particular questions that they would like to discuss; others want to understand other peoples' beliefs or would like to explore what the purpose of life is. Many guests have never been to church, others may have attended church occasionally but feel they have never really understood the basics of the Christian faith.

Some courses are specifically tailored for a particular setting or group - such courses are held in gyms, prisons, offices, residential homes, universities, parent and toddler groups, youth clubs, armed forces bases and schools, and with the deaf and blind.

How the course works

The course is based around small groups, hosted by one or two leaders whose role is to facilitate and encourage discussion.

Courses vary in size, from one small group meeting in a home, to hundreds of people in a larger venue. Some courses are held over morning coffee or during a lunch hour, most are evening courses, typically lasting 2 hours. Whatever the course size, people tend to remain in the same small groups for the duration of the course so they can get to know each other, continue discussions and deepen friendships.

The whole course usually lasts for 10 weeks, with a day or weekend away in the middle. Each session begins with a meal or refreshments - a chance to get to know others in the small group. There is then a short talk, which looks at a different aspect of the Christian faith each week.This is followed by a time of discussion in the small groups, where everyone is welcome to contribute their opinion, ask questions and discuss with the rest of the group.

The emphasis is upon exploration and discovery in a relaxed and informal environment.

There is no charge for attending the Alpha course, although courses may ask for a contribution towards the food.

Course Content

The talks each week cover the following topics, which people are then free to discuss in the small groups afterwards:


Week 1 - Who is Jesus?

Week 2 - Why did Jesus die?

Week 3 - How can we have faith?

Week 4 - Why and how do I pray?

Week 5 - Why and how should I read the Bible?

Week 6 - How does God guide us?

Week 7 - How can I resist evil?

Week 8 - Why and how should I tell others?

Week 9 - Does God heal today?

Week 10 - What about the Church? 


Day or weekend away

  • 
Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • 
What does the Holy Spirit do?
  • 
How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?

  • How can I make the most of the rest of my life? 

How Alpha Began

The Alpha Course has been running for over 26 years. It began at Holy Trinity Brompton in central London, in the late 1970s, initially as a means of presenting the basic principles of the Christian faith to new Christians in a relaxed and informal setting.

By 1990, when former barrister Nicky Gumbel took over the course, Alpha was a central feature of the church's life. It was while leading his second Alpha course that Nicky realised how this simple course could also appeal to non-churchgoers and he adapted the course to give it the kind of feel that would suit this group.

The Alpha course spread during the 1990s, initially in the UK and then internationally, as more churches and groups found it a helpful way to answer questions about the Christian faith in an informal setting. There are now over 33,500 courses worldwide in 163 countries and it is supported by all the major denominations.

(Information from Alpha UK)