The newsletter of Alpha Australia | March 2009
The Alpha Course: Explore the meaning of life
Easter Alpha Invitation 2009
Launched Across Australia Please pray that thousands will be attracted to attend Alpha Courses in 2009
Preparations for the 2009 Alpha Invitation are now underway with churches and groups across Australia planning launch events for their Alpha Courses beginning right after Easter. The Alpha Invitation is an annual promotional campaign designed to attract people to their local Alpha Courses. This year’s invitation is based on the question ‘If God did exist, what would you ask?’ and promotional materials are emblazoned with questions such as ‘Who Cares?’, ‘Why Am I Here?’, and ‘What’s Going On?’
Across Australia, the Alpha Course is reaching people with the good news of Jesus Christ by providing an opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a friendly environment.
Groups running Alpha Courses can download posters, invitation cards, and advertising materials from the Alpha Australia website.
“Grog had a lot to do with my life. I just felt like I had to change too much to become a Christian,” says Rick, who recently attended an Alpha Course in his area. “But it was so far from the truth… the Alpha Course was just such an amazing course because it answered so many questions.
To coincide with the Easter invitation, churches and groups all over Australia will be launching their Alpha Course with special events such as suppers, barbeques and seminars.
“It wasn’t about religion, it was about relationship with Jesus. It was the sort of course that I could invite blokes that I know, rough and ready type of blokes, and say, ‘Come along and do this course’. They wouldn’t set foot
In This I ss u e
lpha Invitation – Equipping Churches Nicky’s Top Invitation Tips A The Marriage Crisis – Meeting the need A Letter from Jon Alpha Conferences Train Thousands
2 in a church or come to a service if I invited them, but they could sit there and do the course and make their own decision.” And others shared:
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“My life before coming on Alpha was quite empty. I was always searching for meaning. I wanted something more in my life. Then I saw an Alpha Course advertised, and I thought, ‘Why not, I’ll go along’…. That, more than anything, has changed my life. It’s been amazing.” – Lisa “It was a really supportive environment to explore my faith, and now I feel that I have God in my life, and I know that I want to be a follower of Jesus.” – Belinda “It wasn’t very hard to ask him. All I had to do was just say, ‘Mate, there’s this course on. It’s on this Thursday night, starts at 7 and there’s a free dinner – would you like to come?’” – Matt
“They wouldn’t set foot in a church or come to a service if I invited them, but they could sit there and do the Alpha Course and make their own decision.” Your continued financial support enables Alpha Australia to resource and train churches in more effective evangelism. So thank you for your gifts… and your prayers… as this vital work can’t be done without you. For more information about promotional materials for the invitation, as well as training events and the joint weekends away, please contact your Alpha State Coordinator or Alpha National Office.
The theme of the Alpha Inv “If God did exist, what wou
This is both a challenging question
And Father Brendan Lane of the
and a great conversation starter. The of St Francis of Assisi says: “Alpha question is a tool that Christians can running successfully here in the Pa use to start conversations with their unchurched friends and workmates, and invite them into the non-threatening Christian environment that the Alpha Course provides. It is always incredibly encouraging to hear from churches and organisations about how successful it’s been to hold a course. Senior Pastor Mark Conner from CityLife Church says: “We’ve seen hundreds of people come into our church through the Alpha Course. It’s a great program individual Christians can use as a tool to help them share their faith, and to grow in their confidence in doing so.”
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encourage all parishes to look a
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Nicky Gumbel interviews Discovery Channel’s Bear Grylls at an Alpha Invitation Event, London
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Each year the Alpha Invitation helps
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Nicky gumbel’s top invitational tips.
help make your Alpha Invitation a success Prepare your team The best courses are those that are run by well-prepared teams. It’s vital that everyone on the team has a shared understanding of the principles and practicalities of Alpha. Engage in prayer Pray for your friends, family, colleagues, neighbours – that there would be an opportunity to invite them to an Alpha supper. Join with other churches in your area to pray together for your communities.
Course. Senior Pastor Allan Demond from New Hope Baptist Church comments: “We’ll be involved in the Alpha Invitation this year because of the synergy it creates. In the life of the church, there’s a sense
Invite your community Alpha Courses and churches grow through friends bringing friends. That’s why we start Alpha with a supper, where people can come and hear an introduction to Christianity. The letterbox drops and posters are just an aid to this process.
of connecting with other churches in the
wider community. In the neighbourhood
It is so much better when we do this together – churches working together in unity, bringing the good news of Jesus to their communities. We are so grateful to the churches that have partnered with us in this vision. That’s why we hold Alpha Invitations every year.
around us, there’s a sense that Alpha is on the map, that people are aware.” The overall costs to Alpha Australia of running the Alpha Invitation is around
Keep at it
$60,000. So please pray we will receive
We’re in it for the long haul, evangelism isn’t something we do once or twice, it’s an ongoing process – keep at it!
the partnership needed… and thank you for your support. Alpha Australia is very blessed to have you as a part of our team.
Nicky Gumbel is the head of Alpha International and has been the Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church, London, since 2005. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire in 2007 as recognition of his broad contribution to the wider church via Alpha, and has written several books.
Explore the Meaning of Life
Our Communities need Marriage Courses offered NOW! And here’s a story from a course leader about a couple Alpha’s Marriage Course is meeting needs at the attending The Marriage Course: grass roots levels of our communities. Demographer Bernard Salt, a partner with KPMG, says, “When there’s plenty of money, people are happier and there is less conflict in the marriage. But with the loss of jobs and financial support, stress will rise. We won’t just see people losing their houses during the year, but marriages falling apart.” The Marriage Course and The Marriage Preparation courses will equip couples using a positive programme that addresses “internal” (communication, commitment and expectations) and “external” (financial stress, work pressures, etc) influences. Through your help Alpha has the resources, both in materials and people, to make a great difference through The Marriage Course. Here’s just one of countless stories from people who’ve attended The Marriage Course recently.
“We have benefited so much and really appreciate everything you have done for us to reignite the flame in our marriage!” (Married 17 years)
‘John’ was driving home from work one day and he heard an announcement on Hope103.2 in Sydney about The Marriage Course. He arranged to go with his wife. At the end of the course we found out that they’d been separated for three months after being married for over 20 years! The course had helped them resolve conflict, forgive each other and be truly reunited. Thank you for your support of Alpha which helps make this crucial program possible. Your gifts help provide the resources that are giving marriages the foundation that will last a lifetime, strengthening our churches and communities. Would you like to be trained to strengthen relationships in your community through running a Marriage Course? Special Marriage Course and Marriage Preparation Course Starter Packs are available if you would like to kick-start The Marriage Course in your area. Please check out these resources online or contact Dennis & Ann Outred at email@example.com or call +61 (0)2 8002 1889 for further information.
Nicky Gumbel’s latest vision for Alpha – Coming soon via DVD to a lounge-room near you Would you like to be involved in supporting the ministry of Alpha by hosting or attending a DVD Dinner? These fundraising events are based on the model of an Alpha Supper, and are comprised of a meal, a new vision DVD featuring an inspirational talk by Nicky Gumbel sharing Alpha’s ministry into 2009, and a low-key appeal for support. Kits with the DVD are available to provide step-by-step guidelines to running one of these events. Please register your interest on the enclosed response slip, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Special BULK DISCOUNT Offer of ‘Why Easter?’ by Nicky Gumbel Are you looking for a way to introduce Jesus to a friend? Or for a suitable gift to give to people visiting your church at Easter time? Alpha’s 24 page booklet “Why Easter” may be the perfect conversation starter. In the booklet Nicky Gumbel considers: • What’s so important about Easter? • Why is there so much interest in a person born 2,000 years ago? • Why are so many people excited about Jesus?
• Why did he die? • Why do we need him? • Why did he come?
The booklet is also a great refresher for Christians to reflect on Jesus and is available through the website www.alpha.org.au or calling the Alpha Publications Hotline on 1800 808 139. Each booklet is just $1.95 plus postage and handling. Price discounted to $1.50 each for orders of 50 or more copies, and even less for orders over 250 copies. Discounts available only for direct orders. Order via www.alpha.org.au or phone 1800 808 139
We are so grateful to you all for your prayers, involvement and giving that makes this kind of event possible - Nicky Gumbel
Alpha Conferences Training Thousands Around the World! Nicky Gumbel and the Alpha team trained 11,000 delegates in Seoul during February.
God is using Alpha Conferences to train thousands of Christians to share their faith. In this past year, it was especially thrilling to see the impact of the Alpha Korea two-day conference where Nicky Gumbel and a team from Holy Trinity Brompton trained and inspired around 11,000 delegates at Rev Dr David Yonggi Cho’s church in Seoul!
More than a million people have done Alpha in Korea in the last 10 years. It is wonderful to hear the testimonies of the people who have come from atheistic or Buddhist backgrounds and whose lives have been totally transformed by Jesus Christ.
This year Nicky Gumbel and his team will be training thousands more at the Alpha Conference in London, running 8-9th June. Speakers will include Reverend Jamie Haith, Tim Hughes and Bishop Sandy Millar, with the program structure suiting every delegate, whether novices or highly experienced in running Alpha Courses.
Many international delegates from across the globe will be attending this conference, as part of Alpha’s biennial International Week, 8-12th June.
And the conference will be more than just training! There will be worship, ministry times and countless opportunities to network with others across denominations and from all over the world.
If you have a chance to be in London in early June, don’t miss the opportunity to participate. Please contact Alpha Australia’s National Office if you would like more information.
– Nicky Gumbel
Explore the Meaning of Life
a letter from the
Dear Friends, It’s such a privilege to serve a Saviour who, in times of turmoil and tragedy, offers us “the peace of God that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:6-7). It is impossible to remain untouched by the sadness left in the wake of the Victorian bushfires. So many families have lost so much, it is just hard to fathom the overwhelming grief that has touched so many. And surrounding that disaster we are engulfed by the global financial crisis. But in the midst of the pain, turmoil, and uncertainty, I am encouraged more than ever in knowing that the work of Alpha is creating solid spiritual foundations in the lives of individuals, families and communities. Now is the time for the Church to respond with compassion and practical support and a clear message of hope. It’s through the strength found in God alone that our nation can begin to rebuild anything, from broken lives to burnt towns. I have recently been reading Matthew 6 and have been very inspired by the words of Jesus instructing us in prayer, in values, and with His promises for our most basic provision. And I have seen His provision for this ministry from our amazing supporters. So many of you give generously to Alpha in prayer, gifts and time. Because of your faithful commitment, we are able to continue doing this phenomenal work. This newsletter refers to the Easter Alpha Invitation 2009 that’s building up now. Please pray with us that God would work powerfully, inspiring His people across Australia to invite others to Alpha Courses, and prompting those invited to take a first step towards Him. And then pray that thousands would come to know what is life indeed through a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s an absolute joy and honour to be working alongside you with Alpha Australia. Yours for His Kingdom,
Jon Seeley National Director PS. Don’t forget that the Alpha Invitation is running after Easter and is an incredible opportunity for your church or group to kick-start the Alpha Course in your community. Contact the National Office for your free Alpha Invitation 2009 DVD, or for further information about this event!
Tell Us Your Story! We’d love to hear how Alpha has impacted your life, church or community. Please send your testimony to PO Box 10 Kerrimuir VIC 3129, or email email@example.com. Thank you! Alpha Australia: PO Box 10 Kerrimuir VIC 3129 Phone:1800 811 903 Web: www.alpha.org.au Email: firstname.lastname@example.org