Why Try Alpha?

Why Try Alpha?

If you have been around Chapel Hill lately, you have probably heard a bit about Alpha. It is something that we are really excited about! But you might be wondering what Alpha is exactly and who is Alpha’s target audience. You might be like the friend with whom I had coffee today who has gone to Chapel Hill for years. Or you might be more like my new neighbor who hasn’t gone to church for a few years but wants to get to know people at Chapel Hill. You might be like my friend who did Alpha 10 years ago, wondering, “Why should I do it again?” You might be like my other friend who is asking deep questions about the meaning of life. Or you might be like me and have a friend in each of those categories! I’ve heard a person in each of these categories ask the questions: What is Alpha? Is it for me?

Let me start by giving you the blanket answer of, “Yes! Alpha is for you! Come try it.” But let me be a little more specific and talk to you about what Alpha is, and why it is for you.

At its core, Alpha is a place for people to come together to explore the deeper questions of life like: Why am I here? Who is Jesus? What is faith? How do I pray? What I love about Alpha is how it goes about answering these questions. Rather than being a lecture or class, Alpha is built around building relationships while exploring a particular topic. Each week, Alpha consists of a meal, a short talk, and discussion time around the table about the topic of the night. As people sit around the table in community, we see amazing things happen. It’s not because Alpha is some magic, secret sauce that we see these amazing things happen. It’s because Alpha is real in that it presents faith in a simple and straightforward way, it is relational in that it is all about building community, it’s reliant because each week we see the Holy Spirit working around those discussion tables, and it’s transformational because we see lives changed by the work of Jesus.

I can attest to this because my family has been changed by Alpha. Last spring, my husband invited his sister to try Alpha with him. Each week they would go eat with their table, watch a video talk, and discuss the topic. Joey has been a Christian for most of his life, and he would come home renewed and challenged by the talk and the discussion. Theresa was exploring faith and was asking a lot of life’s big questions. Alpha provided space for her to ask those with no judgement. Each week she would come home excited to go to the next session. By the end, she had made a commitment to follow Jesus and decided to get baptized. She even gave her testimony in front of the church in July. Both Joey and Theresa have said they would recommend Alpha 100 percent to someone else. They both have said they would do it again. And they have both talked about who they would invite to come with them.

I know that some of you might think that Alpha is a great tool for evangelism, that you are glad we are doing it, but that it’s not for you because you’re a Christian already. You might tell a friend who is not a Christian that they should try Alpha. Confession time: that was me a year ago. In fact, I stood up in front of the whole congregation on a Sunday morning and said, “Alpha is a great tool for evangelism.” I invited a friend to go to Alpha with no intention of going myself because I didn’t think I needed to go. After being an onlooker of what Alpha did for Joey and Theresa, I can’t wait to be a part of Alpha going forward. I want to be a part of this culture of transformation. I want to invite people to come along with me as we explore life’s biggest questions. And I want you all to be my first invite. Come and see what the Lord is doing here at Chapel Hill!

One of the things that really changed my attitude about Alpha was watching the video talks. They are so, so good. I want to give you a little taste of what they are like with this trailer. This is a whole new Alpha, and I can’t wait to share it with you afresh.

If you have questions, feel free to email me directly. 

Julie Hawkins

Director of Missions