This week on the podcast we talked all about Alpha. We talked about what it’s like to be asked to Alpha, what the experience is like for both the churched and the un-churched alike and why we encourage it’s use as an evangelization tool. If you haven’t checked out that episode yet, you should definitely listen to it, but we wanted to dig a little deeper into a couple of things that we said.
Being Asked To Alpha is Not a Criticism of Your Faith
Many people who already attend mass regularly understand how it could benefit those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, but they don’t understand why we’re asking them to attend.
For some, this is a condemnation of their faith. For us, it’s absolutely not.
As Ron shares in this episode, when we ask someone to Alpha we’re not suggesting that they’re deficient. We need people who are willing to share their faith. We need people who are willing to testify on their experience. In so many cases, we’re asking you to Alpha because we want people to share YOUR faith. It’s not the case that you’re “not Catholic enough” or “not religious enough”. It’s that you are a son or daughter of God and we want you to connect with more of your brothers and sisters.
So if you’re asked to Alpha, don’t ask “what did I do wrong?” Instead ask God how you can make the most of this experience.
Alpha is Just The Beginning
That’s actually what Alpha means. Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet. It is the beginning of a conversation. When you’re finished encountering Jesus through the experience of Alpha…you’re at the second letter of the alphabet.
What this means for a parish is that you have to be able to answer the question, “what’s next?” You also have to be able to answer the question, “does our weekend experience match the energy, the passion, and the community of Alpha?”
If you don’t know the answer to either of those questions, you have a problem.
As Rob says this week, “you win people to what you win people with.”
The individuals who experience Jesus Christ through Alpha are going to want more of him. This should obviously include the Eucharist but it cannot be alone. They’ve not come to Jesus alone. They’ve come with a community. If you want them to continue to grow in their faith, that community must continue to grow as well.
If your conversation on the way out of Alpha consists of nothing more than, “we hope to see you Sunday” you’re going to lose some of that flock that you’ve helped shepherd.
You’ve got to have a plan for what comes after Alpha? What’s Beta? What’s Gamma?
We’re Not Married to Alpha
We love Alpha. 20 minutes from now, we will be starting the first week of our lunch time Alpha experience at our office.
If tomorrow we encounter a tool that changed lives and allowed people to experience God better than Alpha, sign us up. We’re not married to Alpha. We’re married to the results. We’re married to changed lives. We’re married to creating relationships with Jesus Christ. Our experience is that Alpha does that better than any tool we’ve encountered.
If your parish has a different tool that catches fish and feeds sheep, then congratulations. That’s what we care about. We don’t work for Alpha. We’re passionate about it because it has always worked for us. It’s not how most of us came to know Jesus Christ. But it’s how we’ve brought the most people to him.
This episode was designed to give some insight on how and why Alpha works for us. Unlocking Your Parish was written to give people a better understanding of what Alpha looks and feels like in action and it’s a tremendous resource for parishes who are working with or want to work with Alpha.
The best way to connect with Alpha is to experience it. So we encourage you to find an Alpha experience and attend. It will change your life. And if you’ve already been, we encourage you to invite people to share in that experience with you and your parish.