Alpha is course for Christianity curious
Program offers introduction to religious life
A new kind of evangelism will come to Northeastern Wisconsin in September and it's called the Alpha Invitation.
The Alpha Invitation is a unified effort among churches to invite people to take an Alpha course at a local church.
Once you decide to try an Alpha course, here's what you can expect: Each week guests enjoy a meal and discuss subjects as diverse as "Who is Jesus?" "How Can I Have Faith?" and "How Can I Make the Most of the Rest of My Life?" The course is low-key, friendly, free and supported by all major denominations of the Christian Church. No question is out of bounds, and participants are free to say as much or as little as they want as they make up their own minds about the teachings of Jesus.
On Monday, Stu Merkel, regional director for Alpha Wisconsin, will be in Green Bay to meet with a group of 20 pastors and lay leaders to organize this event. Here's what Merkel had to say about Alpha and the invitation:
Q. What is Alpha?
A. The Alpha course is a practical introduction to Christianity — it is really Christianity 101 in terms of understanding who Jesus is and why he died and what that means to me. It is about discovering the meaning of life from a Christian perspective.
Q. What drew you personally to Alpha?
A. (I had) a desire to have a resource to invite people to meet Christ or get … reconnected to God and church.
Q. What makes Alpha different from going to church?
A. Church is about worshiping God; Alpha is about learning about why anyone would want to worship God.
Q. What kind of person usually comes to an Alpha course?
A. Someone who has a lot of questions about God and about life and someone who has questions (he or she) has always been afraid to ask.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish with the Invitation?
A.I just hope to see lives changed and transformed.
Q. How have you seen Alpha change people's lives?
A. I've seen many people whose lives have been completely turned around. People finally have trust in church or a community of faith again.
Q. The Alpha Invitation will run this fall in more than 50 locations around the country; why was Northeastern Wisconsin picked to be one of those locations?
A. God picked (Northeastern) Wisconsin for this event. It just seemed there was a momentum emerging from several local churches.
Q. What would you like to say to a person considering coming to one of the Alpha courses being offered in Northeastern Wisconsin starting in September?
A. Get there. Come and try it. And bring a question about God.