Alpha is an evangelistic tool used by many churches worldwide. This year marks two decades since making Alpha an outreach tool at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London, UK. During the past twenty years Alpha has become a worldwide phenomenon. As far as I know, there are fourteen churches that are running Alpha in west Michigan, churches that belong to different denominations. This year Alpha introduced few updates that they hope would make the course easier to run and promote. Take a look at these recent Alpha updates.
First, the “course” is dropped from it’s former title, The Alpha Course. Now it is only Alpha. Students and potential guests could be negatively impacted by the name “course,” leading them to think of manuals, tests and pop-up quizzes, student and teacher relationships. From now on it is only Alpha. At Hillside Church we like to call it ‘the Alpha experience.’
Alpha is a series of interactive sessions that freely explore the basics of the Christian faith. No pressure. No follow up. No charge.
Second, Alpha Builder is the best tool that Alpha offers to those who run Alpha in a church, school, jail, office or bar. Alpha attempted to make sure that with ‘ten clicks’ one can build the Alpha tailored for someone’s context. If you want to run Alpha now you can build your course with speed and efficiency. Get all the resources you need to run the course in an effective way and have the Alpha package ready anywhere in the world. You need access to internet and the desire to make ten clicks. And yes, to make sure that the ten clicks work, Alpha has a new website, alphausa.org.
Third, the Alpha logo has changed. The question marked carried by a man was hugely useful for the past couple of decades, but many contemporaries assumed, at the first glance at the logo, that it’s a man carrying a pretzel. The new logo is a question mark that represents the fact hat every human being has a question. What is your question? There is an architecture of a questioni that Tim May from the UK is exploring (see attached image). Alpha explores your question. We respect you as a person. We are interested to hear your question.
Alpha provides tools to superimpose the question on anyone’s face or picture, and in fact encourages every Alpha leader to unleash their creativity and contextualize the Alpha logo. For someone running Alpha in the African villages, the background picture could be a hut, for instance, with the question mark superimposed. For someone running Alpha in New York City, the Alpha logo could be a tall building or a young professional walking on the streets of the city and having a ‘question.’ Contextualization is now possible for someone running Alpha on campus, in a jail, or in a rural area of Iowa or Wisconsin.
Alpha is evolving.
They try their best to make the course easy to run, promote and market to a specific audience. At Hillside Church we’ve just began the fall Alpha, season 22 for us. We meet every Tuesday at 6:30 pm and we start with dinner.
Have you notices these Alpha updates? What is your experience with Alpha?
I did Alpha in NYC in 1998 and it was a great experience. The atmosphere of “ask whatever you want” was formative in how I’ve lead small groups since then. Glad to see that they keep building in more flexibility.