For those out of the UK, Alpha group are a group that affiliate themselves with various churches ( I believe ) and offer to local people in those areas a chance to 'experience for themselves' the word of God.
No pressure of course, you understand, just a sequence of classes where you can develop your own beliefs about that which is presented.
Funnily enough (surprise, surprise) they don't rely on the texts that have been in use (rightly or wrongly) for a few thousand years but use their own words, no doubt to 'help understanding'.
But there are already thousands of books out there so why more?
They also have videos followed by discussion / explanation groups
I'm sure you can see where this is leading ...
They also have lots of posters on the tube, in stations and on public transport.
Here is a quote from a review:
[i:66f790b50d]What is the Alpha Course? The Alpha course is a world-wide phenomena within the Christian church, currently operating in over a hundred countries. The intention of the course is to teach the basics of the Christian faith to un-churched people in a series of ten meetings and a weekend using videos and books. The course originated in Holy Trinity Brompton Church London, a parish church of the Church of England, who produce the videos and books that resource the course. Although originating within a specific denomination it is used by churches of many denominations including a number within the Roman Catholic Church. Theologically it is evangelical and charismatic yet it is endorsed by church leaders who would not normally fit into these categories. Although aimed at unchurched people it also acts as a “refresher” course for existing Christians and is a significant vehicle for spreading charismatic renewal[/i:66f790b50d]
and here is the link the quote came from
This last quote is fascinating. Basically it ennunciates clearly how and why all LGAT (whether Alpha is or isn't is irrelevant here) have such a voracious appetite for new entrants
[i:66f790b50d]Prospects For the Alpha Course Enthusiasm cannot last indefinitely as people run out of non-church friends to invite, or they canonly take helping on so many Alpha courses before repetition and exhaustion make them change their commitments4. According to the model the numbers attending the Alpha course will peak at somepoint and start to decline. The course will not be maintained indefinitely and will burn out for a lackof enthusiasts. Thus Alpha would find it helpful to keep a record of the number of leaders and helpers on the courses, both nationally and locally, to look for their decline as an early sign of the courseburning itself out. Alternative ways of “[b:66f790b50d]re-infecting[/b:66f790b50d]” existing Alpha helpers to make them more effective could substantially improve its future prospects. This already happens for some peoplethrough attendance at Christian conventions such as New Wine, which have a similar theology and ethos to Alpha.
In order to sustain growth on the course either the revival growth threshold needs to be reduced - enthusiasts to have a higher reproduction potential - or the number of unbelievers that could bereached must be larger. Alpha is frequently the subject of billboard advertising, including buses and London underground. It has featured a number of times on TV and radio programs, including a broadcast of the talks and a documentary following those who attended a course. Nevertheless the main way it opens up pools of unbelievers is through its adoption by more churches and outsidebodies such as prisons, schools and universities.[/i:66f790b50d]
Perhaps we should give thanks to the Lord God Google for letting us recieve such wisdom!
HTH to clarify to anyone outside the UK