Pastors Discovering Alpha Course??Best-Kept Secret? to Church Growth
Deerfield, IL (PRWEB) May 12, 2010
According to researchers, overall membership in American churches is up this year to 147.3 million—just under half of the U.S. population. This summer, a ministry that has engaged more than 14 million people worldwide with the Gospel will hold a conference designed to help America’s churches reach the other half.
Held June 22-23 at Calvary Church in Naperville, Ill., the 2010 Alpha Americas Conference: A Model for Dynamic Growth in the Local Church is being put together by the team at Alpha USA. In recent years, this ministry has experienced a snowball effect as American pastors discover one of the best-kept secrets to church growth.
“We believe God has given us a strategy to help churches double in size across the U.S.,” explains Gerard Long, president of Alpha USA. “Alpha is present in 163 countries, and is a household name in other places. But in the last two years, it has really taken off here in the States.”
In fact, Alpha USA has seen a 47 percent growth in participating churches and a 166 percent growth in regional volunteer leadership teams. Last year alone, 50,000 people in the U.S. made commitments to Jesus Christ through Alpha.
While Alpha can be run in a variety of settings—including homes, workplaces and correctional facilities—it has been particularly effective in helping churches attract seekers. Many churches have reported doubling in size as a result of running Alpha.
Statistics show that, despite worries among evangelicals that Americans are set against attending church, most people would attend … if invited in the right manner. In fact, 63 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a from a friend or neighbor would be effective in getting them to visit a church.
The Alpha course helps churches to create a non-threatening environment where people can consider the claims of Christ for themselves during a 10-week course. This provides congregants with opportunities to extend personal invitations to their family and friends to go to church with them and explore together life’s biggest questions—from “Why am I here?” to “Is God a delusion?”
Long explains, “The model of Jesus is to be a friend of sinners. We are to go and be amongst people, doing life with people who are not in the church. And if we’re walking with Jesus, they’ll notice something different about us.”
Featuring hands-on instruction both for beginners and advanced practitioners, the 2010 Alpha Americas Conference is the ideal environment to learn how to run Alpha effectively.
Long concludes, “Through the Gospel, we can bring utter transformation to individuals, to communities and eventually to the country. We can have another awakening in this country, if we get back to what God has called us to do, which is to proclaim the Gospel in the way that Jesus did.”
To learn more about the 2010 Alpha Americas Conference, visit alphausa.org/Americas. For interviews with Alpha USA president Gerard Long, contact Janine Longoria at 224-588-8526.