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alpha india news
VOLUME 4, ISSUE 4 | OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
NEWS IN BRIEF
Master Trainersâ€™ conference: Read about our Master trainers and their life transforming testimonies. Pg. 4
THE QUARTERLY NEWSPAPER OF ALPHA INDIA
IN THE MARKET PLACE
Student & youth GAT: The Global Alpha Training held in Western and Northern India was a blessing to many. Pg. 5 In the Market Place A brief write up on the visit of our Asia Pacific chairman and testimonies. Pg. 6 - 7 Alpha in Andhra Pradesh: 3 inspiring stories of people who did Alpha in Andhra Pg. 8 Testimonies from East India: Alpha goes from Guwahati to Shillong to Odisha to Kolkata. Pg. 9 Special Editorial feature: The National Director pens down his thoughts on the essential elements of Alpha and the church. Pg. 10 - 11 PARTICIPATE
Financial Partnership We appreciate your financial partnership. If you are inspired to support Alpha India please use the details below or contact Josy Joseph at the Alpha India Office.
Taking the church to the market place In the beginning God had given Adam and Eve the responsibility of stewardship of the garden of Eden as it was the means to provide a livelihood and sustainability. Today the business houses are the gardens from which we get our livelihood. Hence the role and responsibility of taking care of people in these corporate houses is upon us and therefore as wise stewards we need to be effective wherever we are working and not get carried away with focusing on our careers. Our days and the people next to us at work are numbered so the urgency of sharing the gospel is great. In the month of August our Asia Pacific chairman Mr. Chris Sadler visited India. During his visit we scheduled meetings with business leaders and professionals where he focused on creating a platform for work place Alpha nationally. The response was positive with the presence of over 419 business heads, professionals and organisation leaders, across the 5 cities.
Alpha India Account: Account Number: 911020054880929 NAME: ALPHA INDIA BANK NAME : AXIS BANK LTD IFSC CODE : UTIB0000734 BRANCH : KALYAN NAGAR BANGALORE.
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As a follow up programme we re-gathered 291 of our Master trainers and volunteers. During this meeting many of them shared their training experiences, the impact of running Alpha, and their life transformation stories.
2 National Alpha Office details: National Director: Mr. J. Varadaraj Board Members:
Chris Sadler, Chairman of Alpha Asia-Pacific Scott Norling, Chairman of Alpha India J. Varadaraj, National Director of Alpha India Don Anderson, Advisor to Petroleum Ministry of Qatar Clarissa Anderson, Entreprenuer and Invester Mathew Antony, Secretary for Evangelisation, Archdiocese of Delhi
Church Advisory Board:
Archbishop (Emeritus) Vincent Concessao Rev. Dr. D. Mohan, Superintendant of AOG India
Alpha India Regional Offices:
North West Region, Chandigarh: Rupak Nayak Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Mob : +91 90233-91414 West Region, Ahmedabad: Jimmy Harshkant Email : email@example.com Ph : +91 9825-444197 East Region, Kolkata: Prabir Mandal Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Ph : +91 96744-61951 North East Region, Shillong : P.O Ryn Jah, Shillong - 793006 Ph : +91 90851-57153
Relationship Central : Philip N David Mob : +91 98844-36364 Worship Central : Balajied N Syiem Mob : +91 87942-98633 Student & Youth Alpha : James Michael David Mob : +91 97429-98618 Alpha for Women : Seema D N Mob : +91 99017 81907 Alpha in the Workplace: Santosh Chetri Mob: +91 90070-22889 Alpha for Prisons: Peace Khapai Mob: +91 9597-421832 North-East Diaspora: Rampan Muivah Mob : +91 99029-90313
Andhra Pradesh: Susheel K Chattar Mob: +91 98660-99184 Bihar: George Muller Mob: +91 94310-16124 South Karnataka: Sam Victor Mob: +91 99646-98118 North Karnataka (Hubli): Abraham Vinay Mob: +91 95914-22225 Kerala : Mon C George Mob: +91 94464 83577 Odisha: Tushar K Behera Mob: +91 93371-41600 Odisha: Jayadeep Samantroy Mob: +91 98535-03813 Rajasthan: Kamlesh Parmar Mob: +91 99830-03637 Rajasthan: Johnson James Mob: +91 98290-77374 Uttar Pradesh: Vinay P Dayal Mob: +91 93594-86843 West Bengal: Dilip Debnath Mob: 098742-07760 Tamil Nadu : John Rajan Mob : +91 98434-95572 Northeast : Ninghor K Shimray Mob: +91 90851-57153 Northeast : Pr. Subhas Lyngdoh Mob: +91 97740-59873 Kathmandu : Rupa Chetri Mob: 00977 98132-81683 Kathmandu : Reuben Pradhan Mob: 00977-98020-25522 Alpha in the Workplace, Eastern Region : Atmanand Singh, Mob: +91 90515-12161 Assoc. Coordinator, Chandigarh : Vikram Sathyarahi, Mob: +91 96467-76120 Assoc. Coordinator, Ukhrul : W S Raingan, Mob: +91 89747-37432 Assoc. Coordinator, Andhra Pradesh : Nanthaniel R Kodavatikanti, Mob: +91 99088-22365
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
READERS STORIES & PHOTOS Thank you for the testimonies, stories and photos that were sent to us. Once again in this issue your stories have been printed throughout the newspaper, along with other encouraging stories that we have received from across the nation. Please send your stories to: Email: email@example.com Postal address:
Alpha India 219, 5th A Main Road, HRBR 2nd Block, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore - 560 043 Tel: +91 80 2542 0902 / 0899 / 0881 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: alphaindia.org
response cards from chris sadler meeting • Chris Sadler’s sharing was excellent and eye opening. Well organised • The session was meaningful and was a great encouragement • This is a great tool to be used in the work place • I am encouraged to see how God is using Alpha across the market place • The meeting was educational as well as enlightening • It can be used to reach out to people who really need Jesus in their life • It was a really inspiring session based on active evangelisation • It was encouraging and helped me realize my place and purpose in the market place
© Alpha India 2013, edited and published by J.V. Raj for Alpha India
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
From the National Director
At the recent global strategy leaders meet, we had a good time of bonding and asking questions about ourselves, about Alpha and the choices we need to make to reach a large number of people globally in a quick time. We do not seem to be equal to the challenge but with God’s help we believe we can do it. In this issue we have sought to share with you about the recent visit of Chris Sadler to 5 cities in India as well as stories from the field. We also have an article titled “HTB- The root of Alpha” to bless the church leaders. Kindly find below an innovative plan of equipping master trainers to accelerate the growth of Alpha. Master trainers are volunteers who give a day or 2 or perhaps 3 in a month to train local churches and help run Alpha. We have a very effective team that serves along with us and there is room for many more.
deliberated among ourselves and took some bold measures to address two questions: 1. Why and 2. How The answer to the 1st question was obvious. To accelerate the growth of the course by releasing the training to volunteer teams who in turn would train churches to run Alpha. How : a. To release Alpha to the churches b.
Trainings would include an actual planning session
Enlist volunteers and envision them to partner with us in this great mission
We discovered fairly early that training leaders was the key to increasing the number of courses which would effectively bring many to faith.
Train these master trainers to replicate training in churches
Help them make a monthly plan recommending a certain number of trainings
We used to have a 2-day training as well as a 4-day training. In spite of our training many leaders, we found courses did not happen as per expectations. In 2008, Nicky spoke about “Acceleration”. So in 2009, I shared with my senior staff the need to release Alpha without strings to churches.
Release master trainers to work in tandem with our coordinators.They would report the work done to our coordinators who in turn would further report to us
In 2009 an Asia Pac team came and trained around 100 leaders. However, this was a standard training and we found it had a lot of theory which was impeding the process of quick growth. We
J V Raj
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
Leaders’ meeting with Chris Sadler
The masters training programme began with the intention of equipping and empowering the leaders’ and pastors with the urge to expand the work of evangelism through Alpha. Below, a few of them have shared the blessings and benefits that they received by running Alpha.
Arvind Kumar Roy
I am a master trainer in Thiruninravur, Chennai. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be a part of Alpha ministry as it has helped me to train and equip many people for evangelism. Alpha has enabled and encouraged many young people to rise up for the Lord’s great commission. Through this ministry God made it possible for me to reach out to more than 30 churches and 400 of their members. Whom I have trained on how to interact with guests during the time of fellowship, how to handle the teaching session and how to moderate the small group discussions.
I live in Delhi and that is where I was introduced to Alpha through Prison Alpha. I now run Alpha at the Good News Church, Delhi. After I ran an Alpha training for the first time the Pastor there wanted me to run it again. When I went back I built a team and we very systematically started running Alpha. This is when I met bro. Mukesh whose heart was touched by God during Alpha and he said, “I want to be a part of the Alpha course and I don’t want to just stop at knowing Christ, I want to believe and grow in Christ.”
I also explain to them the role of the helper, the host and the speaker briefly. After giving them the theory I usually run a mock session for the church member trainees as this is an easy way to understand the practical side of Alpha.
Pr. Vijaya Kumar
The other point I want to highlight is with regard to Alpha training. We had an Alpha training at Pr. Robert’s house that Pr. Satish and bro Stephen attended. Stephen was so excited by Alpha that he immediately sent out an e-mail to all his contacts in Uttar Pradesh. One of the pastors he contacted was Pr. Rajan from Agra who works with Bro V. K. William who is the founder of the Mount Carmel school in Anand Niketan, Delhi. When he saw the e-mail he was curious to know more about Alpha, so Stephen got in touch with Bro William and e-mailed him all the details about Alpha after which he said that Alpha is very nice and useful and he decided to introduce it to all their 60 churches. So far we have registered 2 courses in one of these churches which will start in the next few weeks.
I am part of the Passion Fellowship in Mysore. Through my experience with Alpha as a master trainer I can confidently say that Alpha is one of the best training tools that I have used to fulfil my calling of I am praying and planning to train four more sharing the Gospel with master trainers to start running Alpha in the the unreached. Many lives churches of South Delhi. have been saved as an outcome of running Alpha.
I have always enjoyed teaching different In the year 1990 my wife groups ranging from the young to families and I started our ministry to professionals. So in a way using Alpha is work in a school in an opportunity for me to improve my gift of Haridwar. However, as it teaching. I have also trained and raised a was a school it did not do group of leaders who are involved in running too well. During our first 10 Alpha in various contexts. It gives me joy to years in Haridwar only 3 or see how Alpha has really helped so many 4 people come to faith. This people in various ways; especially in the cell was very discouraging for groups and the student groups in our church. us. After 10 years, in the The number of people attending church has year 2000, we saw many miracles happening increased after we took Alpha as a guide for and people started coming to faith. This reaching out to non-Christians.
resulted in a church starting, but the people were not regular. We prayed to God for a solution and He answered our prayer in the form of Bro. Rupak who met us 4 years ago. He trained us in running Alpha and we started it in our church which had around 60 people attending at the time. We used Alpha as a discipleship tool and we have been running Alpha every Sunday. Today over 300 people come to our church. We also have house churches that join us in running Alpha. In 2012 we had 79 baptisms in our church. This year 37 people have been baptised. Alpha is a great tool for discipleship as it covers the basic doctrines of the Bible. Every ones favourite session is the weekend away. Almost all the people who have come to faith have done so either during or after the Holy Spirit session.
Bikash I am a choreographer and a master trainer for Alpha. I love introducing myself this way as it makes me feel proud and gives me a sense of peace within. I don’t know what the future holds for me but Alpha has always made me feel like I am in the right place. Alpha has taught me to be a confident leader, a future seeker and it has helped me to add ‘more’ to each day. When I divide my life into before and after Alpha I see that before I used to have limitations as I grew up with certain boundaries. I was afraid of the future, curious and wanted to understand the meaning of life. I was filled with lots of questions and did not have any answers. I am sure that there are thousands of young people like me who live their life’s in the same way. After Alpha, I turned over a new leaf and now every time I look in the mirror I tell myself, “You have changed and you seem more handsome each day.” Hallelujah! Alpha really gave me all the answers I had longed for. The meaning of life, God’s plan for my life and my direction and destination was revealed.
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
I still remember the way I felt on the first day of Alpha. I was sitting in a corner feeling shy and afraid to talk, even though I knew everyone in the room. Slowly and steadily the simplicity of Alpha made me feel more comfortable; mostly while playing the ice breaker games. I remember the first sentence I said was “Excuse me! I have a question to ask” and from that day I have not been shy but filled with confidence. I wasn’t scared or shy when I first gave a talk on “Who is Jesus?” And as I gave more talks and met senior pastors and leaders and visited different places my confidence grew as did my networking and other skills. I got an opportunity to use all my talents. I have seen huge transformations in the churches that are associated with Alpha. The youth are more active, pastors are attending the Alpha meetings, Alpha has regular member’s who bring new fresher’s and disciple them. These are a few drastic changes that I have witnessed.
Tilak Giri I am the dean of a reputed Bible college in Kathmandu. Apart from that I am involved in church ministry and am actively involved with Alpha as a master trainer in Nepal. I have been attending God at work every Thursday in the Alpha office at Kathmandu. I have come to realize that Alpha is very useful and practical. After finishing the first 3 sessions of Alpha we spoke to some of the students and they said, “Alpha is very helpful and practical for our future ministry because soon after graduation some of us are not sure about what to do. We are usually confused when we begin our ministry with regard to the role we play in church. Alpha provides the
ground work for us to start doing something in the church and this way we can help the pastors with discipleship.” After listening to this I knew that Alpha will serve as a foundation for the students future ministry. It will act as a stepping stone on which they can take that vital step of faith to help in their respective churches. It is a means of exploring new ideas and to grow spiritually because Alpha covers those fundamental topics of the Christian faith which a Christian must know. I recommend Alpha to all Bible colleges. It is a life changing experience for students because in college they will learn many things and forget them too as they have so many subjects and extracurricular activities. But Alpha will help them to understand the meaning of life and how to explore God’s love in their life. By running Alpha with their friends in college they will get hands on experience and this will be useful after they leave college. The third year students run it with the second year students and second year students with the first year. We do this so that everyone gets to be involved in attending and running Alpha. I also realized that running Alpha will be good, simple, and meaningful in Nepal. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that changes the lives and minds of people that attend Alpha.
Sikander Chand I believe that if we use Alpha in the right way it can be very fruitful for us. I have a church planting ministry where I live in Gurdaspur. The pastors in this place call me to run Alpha for them as people have learnt about Jesus. I want to start Alpha in areas that pastors can’t reach and the places that are difficult to do ministry in.
The Alpha course FAQs 1. How do I get started running Alpha? Prayer is vital to the planning, preparation and effectiveness of your Alpha course. Find a group of people who will pray for every aspect of your Alpha course. Step 1 - Pray Step 2 - Participate Step 3 - Plan your course Step 4 - Prepare your team Step 5 - Procure your resources Step 6 - Persevere Step 7 - Pass on the vision 2. How do I run the Alpha course outside of my church?
Using the same Alpha course content and structure, you can run an Alpha course at school, colleges, workplace, prisons, hospitals, homeless shelters, army bases, slums, among eunuchs and in red light districts.
3. What resources and training opportunities are available to me? • Access to Alpha’s national training conferences and local training events. • Access to a full array of products through the Alpha India website to promote, run and augment your Alpha course. • Access to a network of Alpha coordinators and Alpha advisors 4. How do I contact Alpha India?
Your first point of contact is
• Your local state coordinator then • The Regional Office and finally • The Alpha India National Office They can all help you locate a training event happening near you. Please find the contact details on Pg. 2
STUDENT & YOUTH GAT
June and July marked an exciting new chapter for Youth and Student Alpha in Western and Northern India. A team of young leaders from Malaysia came to India to conduct a training in Lonavala for the benefit of the leaders from Maharashtra. The sessions were lively and allowed the delegates to learn how they could reach their community using Alpha. Delegates consisted of youth leaders, pastors, and people with a passion to serve. Dave Short (Regional Director – Campus Alpha, Alpha Asia Pacific) led the team in Lonavala and also in Delhi. There was an overwhelming response from churches, having 77 delegates in Lonavala and 113 delegates in Delhi. Over 30 churches participated in the 2 GAT’s and many of them have started running Alpha. The delegates were specially blessed by the teaching on Daily 7.U.P (7 Ultimate Priority minutes with God) which is a tool created by Dave Short for helping young people to get structured in spending time with God. We are extremely thankful to the teams that attended the GAT from Ahmedabad and Punjab. Although the GAT was happening in their neighboring states they took the time to participate. A GAT will never be successful without the support and involvement of our local Alpha advisors who never fail to amaze us with their commitment to the work of God and Alpha.
IN THE M Acts 17:26 says â€œFrom one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their landsâ€? So, wherever we are today it is because God has appointed us, it is no accident if we are in Accenture, Jet airways, or any other multinational companies or business houses. We are missionaries in the workplace and God has appointed us for such a time as this. During the month of August we had meetings in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Mumbai where we shared the vision of workplace Alpha with the professionals and business leaders who we met. We observed that the Lord has strategically positioned each one across a wide spectrum of companies in all the cities and in different fields and we realized that the reason for this is to be the salt and light to our organizations. Through the tool of Alpha any Christian can share Christ effectively to people in suits in a friendly way and over a period of weeks in a simple and systematic way. Allowing friends of other faiths to be comfortable to ask questions; questions which may sound simple, stupid or hostile. Alpha at the workplace focuses on evangelisation of our workplace by giving the people a simple and effective tool. Chris Sadler, our Asia Pacific chairman, shared his life story about how he came to know Christ as his personal savior along with the various transformation stories of business leaders across the globe. He spoke about how the Lord, through Alpha, has been working in the life of professionals and business leaders. For those who attended the meeting there was a paradigm shift of how people at workplaces can be reached through Alpha, to some it was an evening of renewed commitment. A few of them have shared their testimonies on this page and the next.
MARKET PLACE Issac Abel - Pastor, Lighthouse Ministries
I had the privilege of attending the Chris Sadler meeting that was held at Taj Lands End in Mumbai along with a group of people from our church. Few years ago my family and I heard Nicky Gumbel’s talk and we were encouraged. Since then, I have been interested to know more, so that Alpha can be introduced to our churches in Navi Mumbai and to the work places. This is why the meeting at Bandra was a kind of desire coming true. We were blessed by the talk and the presentation by Chris Sadler and encouraged to know that Alpha is successfully running in many countries. Inspired by the presentation, I requested Santosh to train us in Alpha. I was further encouraged by his readiness and the training was conducted this month for 27 participants from our church. Challenged by the training, we are planning a group study for those who will take Alpha to their work places and to other groups.
Leena Kapoor - Educationist The workshop was very engaging. The speaker was down-to-earth, simple and had an accessible way of presenting, which kept the group engrossed and involved. The examples given were practical and from everyday life. I learnt the important qualities required for effective Christian leadership. The workshop gave us an insight into Biblical guidelines and principles for success in business and professional life. After attending this workshop, I feel I will now be more effective as a leader in the marketplace.
Ashish Mishra - Corporate Training Consultant The meeting gave me an insight into Alpha’s vision in India and across the globe. I was particularly impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of their material. Listening to reports of what God has been doing in the nation through Alpha was a blessing. It’s encouraging to learn how Alpha rises above denominational differences to undertake its training programs, yet without compromising the precious truths of the Gospel. The staff were very genial and I had a wonderful time of fellowship and felt spiritually refreshed.
from the field
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
alpha work in andhra pradesh I don’t know what hit me, I felt like I couldn’t stand up and I didn’t know what to do Andy - Dimple was from a Christian background and I was Roman Catholic. We were from 2 different schools of thought. We got married in 2008 and were working in the corporate field and had a very active social life. In fact I was a professional bartender. We knew about the Trinity, Jesus Christ, Bible and the church and attended service on Sunday at different churches. But we never understood the true meaning of being a Christian and of having a relationship with God. I was doing pretty well and we started a family and suddenly things went wrong; when you start loving something more than God remember He is a jealous God. Earlier this year I faced financial loss and we had a lot of deaths in our family. I don’t know what hit me, I felt like I couldn’t stand up and I didn’t know what to do. We started fighting a lot and I thought we would not be together. The only thing I had was a lot of time on my hands as I had quit my job in February. There was always this nagging thought in my head that kept saying, why don’t you go to church? We had a family friend who was a pastor so we decided to go to his church. This was where bro Susheel said that they were starting Alpha. I didn’t know what Alpha was so he said, “Why don’t you come, but remember it is a commitment that you have to make for 13 weeks.” I was taken aback and I thought it was not going to be possible, but those 13 weeks flew by and they made a lot of difference in our lives. It helped us to build a relationship with God, we started reading the Bible and despite our problems we grew in Him. We stared looking at our problems as small things as compared to God who is mighty and huge!
Israel Uday Kabra I am from the Marwari community and I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal saviour 16 years ago. I have a Christian book store called “Israel Books and Music” in Secunderabad. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit two years ago we started a church called “The Lord’s Sanctuary Church”. I was looking for an evangelizing tool for our church and a person came to us with such a tool. A few weeks after the course started the person who was helping us convinced many of our church members to attend his church instead of ours. I was disappointed and became very sceptical. Our Church prayed about this issue and started looking for a tool to grow in the Lord. I have been following the Alpha India news and selling Alpha resources for over 3 years in my book store. Bro. Susheel and I have had discussions on Alpha but I was sceptical about it. We prayed and were led by God to start Alpha in our church, so we promoted Alpha and a large number of people registered. We formed a team of small group leaders and helpers and Bro. Susheel took the talks. As we started, we realised that the teaching is very effective and simple to understand. Alpha is designed in a systematic way and I recommend every believer to go through it.
Dimple - The Holy Spirit baptism and weekend is an awesome time and I pray that each one of you experience this in your life. Since I am from a Christian background I do know about the Holy Spirit, but not in great detail. I started reading the Questions of Life book and in it Nicky Gumbel very beautifully inspires us through his own life; how he would get up in the morning to seek the Lord etc. So I did the same and one day was never enough. Like the word says “Better is one day in his courts than a thousand elsewhere” and so I woke up early morning and the hours would just pass in the Lord’s presence. The Holy Spirit taught me how to worship and be in His presence, this helped me get closer to the Lord. When the Holy Spirit baptism weekend happened all I did was ask my heavenly Father, because the word of God says, “All you have to do is ask in my name”, and on that day I was totally slain in the Holy Spirit for hours; I couldn’t stop clapping my hands, I was speaking in tongues as this is what I had asked for. I was so happy and filled with joy that a lot of people thought I was mad. There is nothing better than experiencing the joy of the Lord. I encourage each of you to join an Alpha session. We think we come from Christian background and we know a lot, but trust me Alpha gives you so much insight into things you usually don’t look at. Post Alpha my relationship with my husband and my prayer life has been restored. The Holy Spirit did beautiful and new things in every area of my life; all we have to do is submit and be willing. My husband used to get irritated when I used to worship in the morning but now he takes the lead by reading the Bible and praying on his knees. This is all thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ and Alpha. I believe that He who began a new work will bring it unto completion, unto the day of Christ Jesus.
The small group discussion is the best part of Alpha; we experienced love, care and had productive discussions. People came with many questions and all their doubts were cleared. We saw the move of the Holy Spirit in an extraordinary way during the weekend away. We also experienced the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit. At the end of Alpha, all the believers were revived and a good foundation was laid in their Christian faith. They were all challenged to have a prayer life and to faithfully walk with God. We are also preparing for the follow up course “A life worth living”. I can see my church growing in spiritual maturity. I thank our Lord Jesus for leading me to this wonderful tool of evangelism.
bought the Alpha Questions of Life book at a Christian book store because I thought it would help me answer the questions of the unbelievers who want to know why they are suffering in their life.
I come from a Christian family but had not accepted Jesus. When I attended Alpha I realised that I am the one that needs this book. During the session on prayer Bro. Susheel spoke about how we generally pray, he said that we start by kneeling and slowly we sleep off. When I heard this I thought this will never happen to
me. But after the session my wife was praying and I joined her, I thought I was praying but when she woke me up I realised I had slept off. This incident made me take Alpha and its teachings very seriously. I had quit drinking but have been smoking for 13 years. For the first time in my life I fasted continuously for 3 days before attending the Holy Spirit session. This session was going to happen at a resort so that we could detach our self from our problems and the world and spend time with God. While I was fasting God helped me to quit smoking. It was during the worship time in the afternoon that I knelt down and stayed there for over 4 hours. I felt no pain in my knees. This experience was unforgettable and it helped me change my life. I used to be short tempered and I was unemployed as I had quit my job to go to Singapore, but that was not what God had planned for me. Before the Holy Spirit weekend I had attended over 55 interviews but did get a job. After the weekend my wife and I cried and prayed to the Lord for a job and told Him we had hope in Him. We finishing our prayer and an hour later we got a call from a company that I went on to join as the head of a global team. When you trust in the Lord He will do great things. Alpha really helped me build my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and this is very essential in every one’s life. Many of us do not realize how far we have drifted from God.
from the field
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
Testimonies from east india Rev. Kotha Khulan Tarao I am an Alpha advisor in Guwahati and I have been the Director of the Agape Christian Outreach Mission in India for several years. I had a great time during the Alpha master trainers training program which was held in Guwahati earlier this year. My previous training was on how to run Alpha; this time around it was on how to train people to run Alpha. The training is designed so systematically that we are first doers and then become teachers based on the skills that are taught and the practical experience that we get by running Alpha. I enjoyed the training mainly because it is nonthreatening. I also like the relational based discussions that emphasize the study method of Alpha; where we don’t force anybody to listen and accept our views. Instead we respect their freedom of speech, expression and freedom to make their own decisions. I believe that in North East India Alpha will bear much fruit and we should use it in our ministry.
Monto Imlitemsu While in Dimapur I was unemployed and I became desperate and depressed. I resorted to drinking and felt empty inside. That is why I moved to Shillong in search of a better life. In Shillong my sister and brother-in-law (Jied) called me home to repair their kitchen furniture. They then invited me to the Vineyard Church and also spoke about Alpha. I had no idea what it was but I was desperate for a change so I agreed to attend. During this time I got a job to do woodwork for a drug and alcohol recovery centre that was started by a couple
who are also from the Vineyard Church and Alpha is being run in their house on Saturday evenings. I decided to work at their centre during the day and attend Alpha in the evening at their house. I had always felt that understanding the Bible in a church setting was difficult. But in Alpha we interact by asking questions and listening to everybody’s experience and opinion on the Bible and other matters. This really blessed my life and I would go back home and share what happened with my wife. In Alpha we begin to understand the topics and put it to practice in our daily life. Soon after Alpha I have been getting constant work to make wooden furniture for homes, offices, churches and even a Christian university. I thank God for the positive changes in my life spiritually, physically and financially.
9 Post Women leaders’ conference in Nepal - Rupa Chetri
Many of the sisters who attended the Alpha women leaders’ conference in Nepal were so encouraged that they approached the Chapeli Christian committee in their area; who have 42 churches under their banner. Recently this committee invited me to speak on the status of women in Nepal and how they, as a church, can be involved in doing something. There were more than 100 women leaders from various churches present at this meeting. The president of the committee said that they want to run Alpha. One of the Nepali women present in the group said that she was very encouraged and that she had recorded the entire session so that she can share it with the people she knows in Israel, as she has never heard the Word related with social issues like this.
I live in Pardhiapali in Balangir, Odisha where I was brought up in the Catholic faith. I did not have spiritual thirst nor did I experience salvation. I claimed to be a Christian but did not lead a Christlike life. I never read the Bible or prayed regularly to God in the name of Jesus. The other women were also greatly challenged While doing a computer course I was invited and they immediately decided that we should to attend Alpha in Chantiapali. I found it speak to the youth about this matter when we interesting, and effective. It was interesting give them an introduction to Alpha. because of the fellowship, message and discussion which helped me learn about God and clear my doubts. It was effective because the topics they covered made me realize the meaning of salvation, Christian life and responsibility. At the end of Alpha I understood the need of accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, of reading the Bible, of prayer and ministry. I committed my life to God. Now I can boldly say I am a Christian.
ALPHA RESOURCES Alpha resources are available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese and Urdu. email@example.com
WORKPLACE ALPHA FROM COONOOR TO KOLKATA Dealing with life’s difficult choices Pastor Manish and his wife Arpita are from the Life Builders church in Kolkata. They have been working in secular organizations for many years. This is their story. In 2009 the Lord called us to leave our jobs and join full time ministry. We obeyed and moved to a small town in South India called Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. Here the Lord associated us with the Union Church, Coonoor. The Lord had always put in my heart the desire to work among the young people employed in the IT and BPO sectors. Our Lord had come to the world to get the lost sheep back to the Father. He went to the tax collectors and the sinners, similarly the youth of today who are working in this sector also need our Lord. A year back the Lord called us to move to Kolkata and we obeyed His guidance. In Kolkata we started running Alpha and God at work in the Life Builders Church. God at work has been a very good tool to reach out to the working class and its detailed study has been helpful for them to deal with their day to day office life. The module is designed in a very systematic way and enables us to give a clear perspective of why one should work and how to work under high pressure. It also helps in dealing with lives difficult choices and how to handle stress in today’s high paced lifestyle. We have also started Alpha with another group where we are using the Alpha Express talks by Nicky Gumbel. The group has been enjoying the talks and wants to know more about the Lord. We believe that the Alpha material is very good and should be used by churches as an outreach tool.
Image : HTB
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
HTB - the root of Alpha
What makes a community attractive to those outside? What makes a community be both God-facing and guest-facing?
- J V Raj God produces unbridled obedience to the heartbeat of God. Intimacy is when no questions remain. Intimacy with God is core to a life full of the Spirit. Intimacy with God impels us, compels us and propels us into a life of yieldedness to His desire. In being and becoming, in fulfilling and being fulfilled, in a life pleasing to God. The Spirit of Worship in the church demonstrates their intimacy with God. Worship Central, led by Tim Hughes, is an expression of the overflow of the churches’ intimacy with God.
My attempt is to address these questions as this is critical for transformation of our societies. This is essential for reaching out to the lonely, the needy, the suffering and the lost. We have an example of a healthy church in Holy Trinity Brompton, London. The Alpha course which is now a global phenomenon started in a local James 4:8a—Draw near to God and He church and bears this DNA out of the will draw near to you. life of the local church. Alpha works best when the church has these ingredients. There are many factors, but I have chosen B. Intimacy one with another: a few essential ingredients. The story of the church is also the story of friends like Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, A. Intimacy with God: Nicky and Sila Lee, Ken and Fi Costa, Justin Welby and a few others who all When anyone is a part of the gathering, one love the Lord and are deeply committed thing very obvious is the congregations’ to one another for nearly 40 years. They love for the Lord. Intimacy with God have demonstrated that it is possible to is a call, a privilege and a possibility. It live together as a community pursuing is a little more than just following or God and His purposes for them. This doing. Intimacy is to be passionately has been revolutionary and infectious. I involved with Jesus. It is an unhurried have observed many other families in the lingering, basking in His Presence. It is church develop close relationships and an experience when the human heart is younger generations imbibe and imitate consciously aware and is very occupied the leadership. with her beloved Jesus. It is a state and an estate when the soul has complete These few friends are all intelligent and abandonment and freely expresses herself accomplished yet very different from in a relationship with Jesus. Intimacy each other. So there must be structures, with God is expressed through our perhaps unwritten, that enhance strong rejoicing, adoring, singing, worshiping, bonding. To me this is perhaps the most praying, blessing etc. It is when Jesus is vital contributing factor in making up our Saviour and our Salvation, our Lord the character of the church. Their mutual and our leader, our King and the song respect is legendary. They even smile that we sing. The language of intimacy is similarly. obedience from the heart. Intimacy with
A couple of Sundays ago, I was at HTB to worship with others. When I entered, Nicky & Pippa Gumbel—both came in double speed to hug and welcome me. Seeing this, many people want to come and be a part of church life. (My taxi driver, whom I took to worship with me, saw this scene and said “I think I have found the church I must belong to in London”.) A sense of belonging is what attracts people to come back. Whether at the reception table or in the fellowship post service, everyone is made to feel welcome. John 13:35 — By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. C. The Word of God: The word of God has been faithfully preached and the truth is clearly presented. As Nicky Gumbel says, “The message is unchangeable but its presentation is geared to the times.” The messages are clear, comprehensive and leading to action. They are simple and contemporary in presentation. The leadership team knows the message before it is preached. It is never a oneman show. Various people presenting the Word, bring in different shades and aspects of the truth. Nicky is easily one of the finest presenters of the gospel in today’s world. Even young boys and girls can get the message. The same can be said about anyone who has spoken there. The Word is also sincerely taught in homegroups. Nicky writes a daily devotional (alphaindia.org/friends/bioy) which has
ALPHA INDIA NEWS OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2013
blessed our own family abundantly. The church has also initiated a theological training programme http://sptc.htb. org.uk/ which helps in both broadening and deepening the understanding of the knowledge of God. The annual opportunity of more fellowship around the Word and the Spirit is made available during the annual church holiday “Focus”. The church also has a good bookshop and has made available the resources online. Psalm 138:2b—For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. D. The Holy Spirit: Since the early ‘80s, the community opened up to the working of the Holy Spirit both inward and outward. The fruit and the filling of the Spirit of love or joy and of hope is palpable in all that the community is and does. In every gathering, one can notice an ancient prayer of the Church “Come Holy Spirit come”. The Move of the Holy Spirit is an outstanding factor in all that happens at HTB and Alpha. The church leadership is full of brilliant, thinking people with abilities to reason well, which I am confident they do, and yet yearn to do the Spirit’s bidding. Rooted in the Word, led by the Spirit, would perhaps be a proper representation. In the early ‘80s, the church welcomed a fresh move of the Holy Spirit, who in a sense pioneered Life in the Spirit in the UK. This has now reached a gentle yet massive outreach globally. E. Prayer: Prayer has been quite central to the church life and there are many stories of answered prayers in the community. During the service many prayers are offered. At the end of the service, there is a prayer team that prays for needs of people who come forward. Every Tuesday morning at 7.00 am there is a time of prayer at HTB. There also is a 24 x 7 prayer room. For a number of years Jeremy Jennings led this prayer as part of the church. Currently, Pete Greig, founder of 24 x 7, is Director of Prayer. The church works with other London churches in mobilizing united prayers for the city and the world. Considering various cutting edge ministries that has sprung out of the church life, the church is vulnerable. Their abject dependence on God through prayer and intercession is understandable.
editorial FEATURE F. Giving: The hallmark of the church is their giving, led by the example of the Vicar. Nicky Gumbel does not charge royalty or take proceeds from the sale of his very popular and widely used books. All the money goes back to the work. They live simple lives longing to serve in any given opportunity. The whole church gives liberally. Obviously there has been amazing transformation of the church’s position from growth to giving, when the church decided to gift this tool (the Alpha course) to everyone around. What was a one church affair has now gone global with the outpouring of blessings on every church that did the Alpha course. An estimated 23 million people have gone through the course in 169 countries. The countless transformation stories bringing hope to a dying world is effectively rooted in the giving of this one church, in central London. Their church-plants are yet another example of releasing the best of the people to plant communities all over London. G. Leadership development The church has constantly invested in younger people to develop their skills of leadership and given opportunities to grow. People are allowed to pray for others, make mistakes and learn. A number of aspiring ordinands do their theology and practice their gifting in the community. Periodically new church plants come up where these young curates begin to lead communities. Some time back there were 26 curates. Ever so many leadership seminars and conferences are run. Development of leaders through the Alpha course and the Global Alpha Training (GAT) programme is a good training ground. In the last few years HTB leadership conferences have been a great blessing to the global church. Their ecumenical spirit, servant attitude, outward looking theology and Kingdom mindset are other factors one can think. We pray these elements can become integral to your own church and you will never stop growing in all areas mentioned above. We pray that your church will also be a blessing to many nations. The church is the Lord’s and these are perhaps the Lords expectations from every church. Yours, to see healthy churches grow.
Pray for Alpha India Praise GOD FOR: - New partnerships with CBCNEI, UBC and Presbyterian churches - The ability to train 22198 leaders in the last quarter - The blessed conferences with Chris Sadler - Providing all our financial needs - All our committed staff who are working towards building His kingdom - Our dedicated Master trainers and Advisors Prayer Points: - Pray that God would encourage our field team individually - Pray that those who are attending the Alpha course will experience God - Pray God would give new and innovative ideas to our team to reach people effectively - Pray for Alpha India as we prepare and plan for 2014 - Pray that people with the right character, competence, culture and chemistry will join us - Pray that we may continue to remain faithful to the vision - Pray for developing good leadership across the nation - For effective and functioning partners
Published on Oct 1, 2013