Alpha Tip: mobilizing the whole church to participate in evangelism
How can we Create a Culture of Outreach?
Our Alpha Tip comes from Marti Clark, a seasoned Alpha leader from Southern California.
A while back I discovered a book that presents a clear and simple evangelistic strategy that equips individuals and churches to connect with people wherever they are in their journey of faith. It is called "Sowing, Reaping, Keeping" by Laurence Singlehurst, a former YWAM leader from Britain. Singlehurst has developed following model and list of evangelistic goals.
Demonstrate that God is good and Christians are okay!
Share aspects of the Gospel. The Alpha course is an example of a Sowing 2 event.
How does one respond to the Gospel invitation? What are the blessings and commitments involved?
New believers begin the process of discipleship and become enfolded into the life of the church.
Let's take a few moments to unpack his approach:
1. This model reflects the fact that evangelization is a process, and that different stages of this process require different strategies, and have different evangelistic goals.
2. It is a holistic approach that gives us a language for all stages of growth towards Christ.
3. It provides an “entry-level” place for those who are nervous about personal evangelism. We can all do “Sowing 1” evangelism; we can all become intentional about helping the people around us change their minds about Christianity and begin to believe that “God is good and Christians are okay”.
4. This model can also guide us as we shape the events and activities of our churches. According to Singlehurst’s model, Alpha is “Sowing 2” evangelism, because Alpha begins with the content of the Gospel and Christian belief. Does your church have any “Sowing 1” events aimed at helping outsiders begin to discover that God is good and Christians are okay?
A number of Alpha churches have begun to use Singlehurst’s model to train their people, and to design their church events. Their emphasis on “Sowing 1” evangelism is helping to increase the numbers of guests they’re attracting to Alpha.
Here are a few "Sowing 1" events that churches around the country are using:
"Sowing, Reaping, Keeping" is published in Britain, but a few copies are available on Amazon.
Parties in church parking lots Invitations are sent to all the neighbors in the vicinity of the church. Free food, games for kids, music, etc...
Car care clinics
Provide car repairs for those in need. Single moms especially appreciate this.
Summer festivals or parades
Some churches are offering to provide the clean up service - talk about "servant evangelism"! Others have volunteers walk around with free bottles of water and information about an upcoming Alpha course.
Parent Shopping Days
On a Saturday morning during the holiday season volunteers babysit children from the pre-school so their parents can do Christmas shopping.
Invite the whole neighborhood to bring chairs, blankets. Families and watch a movie projected against the side of the church. Provide popcorn, snacks and drinks.
Pure Comedy Night
Offer a comedy show with Christian comedians. Tickets cost $10 for church members, but $1 for their unchurched friend.
Oh, and by the way, it is even endorsed by Nicky Gumbel.