The first thing you notice when you walk in through the doors is the mouth watering smell of bœuf bourguignon (or beef stew to those of you who aren’t French or food fanatics!). Usually this is accompanied by a band playing some gentle jazz music, and the anxious hum of conversations between strangers who have just met. If you walked in unaware, you would be surprised by the variety of people within the room. Despite this there is an excited buzz about the place, they are all here for a reason, a common purpose. They have come to the Alpha Introductory Evening.
If you ask people why they’ve come, you get a fascinating range of responses from ‘I’ve come along because my friend invited me and I’m interested in Christianity’ to ‘I want to prove to myself that God doesn’t exist!’ Everyone’s story is different, even at this early stage. But they are all searching for the answers to life’s big questions.
The rest of the evening is just great fun; connecting over dinner and hearing Clive and Kaz’s story of how Jesus has transformed their lives. We finish with coffee and cake and the conversations flow more freely now after the shared experience of the evening.
At the end of the night we have a good idea of who is likely to come back for the rest of the course. Most decide there must be more to explore and so their journey begins. Over the next 10 weeks they ask questions, discuss and find out what we really believe as Christians, all the while devouring lots more cake (are you detecting a common thread?!)
Over these weeks we get the real privilege of going on an amazing journey of explaining and engaging with Alpha guests about the heart of Christianity. It’s incredible to witness the transformation that occurs in some people during Alpha, and there’s nothing more exciting than leading someone into relationship with Jesus. At the end of Alpha some have crossed the line of faith, whilst some are still exploring. But above all we know that we have sown good seeds.
The course finishes, but the stories continue.
We’re looking forward to sharing in many more stories when Alpha returns on Monday 30th September.