BY TREVOR LONG
The older I get the more I am amazed at the power of God displayed in creation, and the changed lives of people who have surrendered their hearts to Jesus.
In July 2009, my wife Jan and I responded to the call of God to join the staff of YWAM San Francisco. We came from a little English village to this great metropolis. Over the last 17 years, I have been involved in different ways with leading and advising church groups to introduce the Alpha Course. This is a course to introduce the Christian faith to those with questions about life. It began in London about 35 years ago and has now spread all around the world, where 22.5 million people have attended a course.
When we joined YWAM there was an opportunity to work with the homeless and underprivileged people of the city. There was also an opportunity for getting alongside the business community and local churches where we found a real need for a course like Alpha to reach out to all people of the Bay Area. In 2012, Alpha was adopted as part of the ministry of YWAM SF. In 2014, Alpha USA invited us to represent the course in the Bay Area.
Alpha is an informal, no-pressure introduction to Jesus and we have had the pleasure of working with many church groups and different cultures. Since knowing Jesus is having a personal relationship with God, we start by building a personal relationship with each other by sharing a meal together followed by a DVD talk and small group discussions. Alpha allows people to come as they are-baggage and all.
I will always remember one middle-aged lady who took up the course, and on the first day proclaimed she worshiped aliens. The group facilitator said, “That is interesting”, and moved on. By making this remark, he had not agreed with her but made her feel that he was interested in her, and she was made welcome. The lady did not understand what Christianity is about and thought it included many forms of worship.
A few weeks later she said, “On the first night of the course I told you about the aliens and you were very gracious to accept me into the group, but I now know from listening to the DVDs and other people in the group what Christianity is about, and the Holy Spirit is changing me. I need to tell you that if you had told me on that first night that I was wrong and the Bible says differently, I would not have come back to the course”. Praise God this lady did come back and gave her life to Jesus at the end.
Alpha is for everybody, unbelievers, new Christians, and those who just want to refresh their faith