Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Alpha Starts Tomorrow!

     The first official Alpha class begins tomorrow at Calvary Baptist Church, McAllen.  This is a very exciting time and there is still a chance to be a part of it.  You can be a part of this in at least one of two ways: (1) you can be a class participant (click here to register); and/or (2) you can pray for the class.  (I'll comment on these two ways to get involved below).

     This class is designed to explore Christianity in a dialogue format where it is safe to ask questions and express opinions without being embarrassed, put on the spot or judged.  Our desire is that by the end of the class, individuals will have a personal relationship with Christ and friends that will encourage them to grow in that relationship.  You can see a description, schedule and syllabus for the class at the bottom of this post or you can download a PDF version of the flyer here.

     1.  Why should you participate in this class?  If you are already a believer this class will offer you the opportunity to bring a guest who may not be a believer or who is not plugged into a church.  You can be the instrument God uses to bring them into a personal relationship with Christ.  (We value your trust and we commit to not embarrassing you or your guest!)  Another benefit of attending the class for believers will be learning a very relational and non-confrontational way of sharing the gospel that you can use later in your own home with your friends, family and/or neighbors.  This method can also be used by ABFs also.

     If you are new to Christianity or to the church, then this class is for you.  If you are not a believer and you have questions, then this class is for you.

     2.  How should you pray?  (a) Pray that those who need to encounter Christ would be invited to come.  (b) Pray for CBC folks to bring those who need to come.  (c) Pray that the Holy Spirit will convince guests of God's love and of their need to trust Jesus Christ.  (d) Pray that God uses this method to bring about a revival of evangelism and discipleship to CBC and beyond.

     3.  Why is Calvary investing so much in this class?  We are a church that desires to make disciples of all nations.  We currently do not have an official evangelism strategy.  So we are piloting Alpha as a possible strategy.  We realize three things about evangelism strategies: (a) We live in a postmodern world where people outside the church do not have a Christian or biblical context to understand the gospel in a 5 minute presentation.  Most folks outside of faith today require relational evangelism and a safe place to ask questions; (b) Many of those who are not Christians or are not in church have been hurt, offended or misunderstood by Christians or the church.  We need to build bridges of trust with them; (c) Many of the evangelism programs that worked in the 20th century are not conducive to discipleship today.  They get people saved but they do not have a natural process that moves them to discipleship.  We want to present the gospel in an environment where relationships are developed and discipleship becomes natural.

     Although we may continue to have an annual Alpha class in English in the fall, and perhaps an Alpha class in Spanish in the spring, what we really hope is that individuals and ABFs will be encouraged to have Alpha classes in their homes multiplying the opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus with neighbors, friends, family and co-workers.