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thinking of doing Alpha course but unsure

(18 Posts)
louandcupoftea Mon 05-Sep-11 10:14:11

I am thinking about doing the Alpha course and wondered if anyone else had done it and what they thought of it. I went to church as a child. As a teenager I tried out various churches and haven't really had any involvement in them for the last 20 years. I have of course googled Alpha and scared myself that it is considered by a few as a kind of cult. But others have said how much they got from the course. I do feel a bit torn about it.

ILoveMyDragon Mon 05-Sep-11 11:59:01

I was brought up in church and then did the Alpha course as kind of a natural progression but hten stopped going to church, I then did it again a few years later. It isn't culty at all and my experience was very helpful for me, there wasn't any pressure or anything.
Subsequently I do not go to church at all as I struggled greatly with the church I was at and found the whole thing more stressful then helpful (church not Alpha) I would say I still believe but don't practice at all.

I would see no harm in giving it a go and if you find it too much then just leave and don't go back. Churches are supposed to be supportive understanding places so if you don't feel supported then I suggest a different church is for you.

Hope you find what is right for you x

nocake Mon 05-Sep-11 12:05:03

I used to run an Alpha Course in my days as Christian. How good the course is depends on the group. I had groups who would get into lots of really good discussion and other groups who would hardly say a word. There's no compulsion to continue going if you don't like it so you could just go along and see what it's like.

Like ILoveMyDragon, I no longer go to church because they turned out to be not so supportive when I needed them.

ILoveMyDragon Mon 05-Sep-11 13:06:09

Very good point about the groups!
I would try and find a group with people your similar age and experience or you are much more likely to find yourself feeling isolated. I remember a MASSIVE argument discussion about 'the gay gene' which was totally split by age and was a horrific experience.

thejaffacakesareonme Mon 05-Sep-11 18:59:02

I agree with the others - give it a go and see where it takes you. There is no compulsion to stay and if you decide after the first night that it isn't for you, then you don't have to go back. If you think that you may want to take things further you may want to think about what sort of church may suit you. Personally, I'd look to do an alpha course at one with a big Sunday School for the DCs.

newlark Tue 06-Sep-11 08:19:46

I know several people who've found Alpha helpful (or a similar course like Christianity Explored) - all sorts of churches run the courses - I would give it a go and see how you find it.

MrsDaffodill Tue 06-Sep-11 08:22:05

I would give it a go but give yourself permission to stop if you don't like it. Also, it may be worth sounding out other people in the area about the particular churches running it. There are a coulpe of churches near here where I wouldn't do any kind of course, as I think it would be almost cult-like. Many others would be fine.

ZZZenAgain Tue 06-Sep-11 08:24:20

might depend a bit on the church where you do it. No need to see it through absolutely if you don't feel comfortable. It wouldn't be for me but might suit you. Can you talk to someone there who is involved in it?

ZZZenAgain Tue 06-Sep-11 08:25:24

nocake, that's quite a change from running an Alpha course to considering yourself no longer Christian.

nocake Tue 06-Sep-11 10:39:56

I used to run the welcome course for new members as well. I was an upstanding member of the church..... until they let me down very badly at the first point in my life when I needed them. It made me realise that the church I was part of was a complete facade.

ZZZenAgain Tue 06-Sep-11 13:57:15

can see that must have been quite a shock and a let-down

RedRubyBlue Tue 06-Sep-11 15:49:25

My friend did one (she was 'pressurised' by her neighbour tbh) and she thought that there would be a few people doing the course with her.

She was alone with TWELVE people instructing her.

She left and never went back.

eaglewings Tue 06-Sep-11 15:53:33

I went on the course years ago, it was a large one and plenty of people my age. The one in our village is about to start with 50 people and lots of mums from the school and play group.

Go to one and if you don't feel at home try another place

springydaffs Wed 07-Sep-11 01:19:07

aw nocake I'm very sorry to hear you had a traumatic time with that church. Join the club: I went away from God for a long time because of awful christians. God, though - absolutely gorgeous. don't confuse him with the church eh? They should be one and the same but, well...

I've done the alpha course OP and I thought it was great - not cultish at all (I don't know why anyone would say that tbh?). It's a series of DVDs by a man called Nicky Gumbel from a posh church in London - who is anything but posh or off-putting but puts across the basic tenets of christianity brilliantly imo. He has a very easy style, very human and normal, quite funny sometimes. If you can get it online I'd do it like that so you can take time over it at your leisure - then if you would like to do it again with a discussion group you can.

Anybody know if you can get it online?

MsWeatherwax Wed 07-Sep-11 06:37:25

They scare me. I had a best friend who went on it, abruptly became judgy of me and very fundamentalist, and would only speak to me to tell me off about not being godly.

lollystix Sat 10-Sep-11 08:46:29

My dad did it from being non Christian and became extremely zealously converted. Spent 6 months telling me that the devil was in me. He's since calmed down in his religion and normal church member - no more devil chat but it was unnerving at the time.

I did the course on his request as an agnostic. Wanted to find about more about religion rather than actually convert but was open. Lots of couples getting married on it. I did find it very pressurised tbh and could see others uncomfortable. Kind people running it but discussion around living together and homosexuality was just bigoted in my view - it was all just 'wrong' and they had no arguments. Also the last session was all day workshop where they insisted we all pray for a few hours. I almost felt hostage and found it extremely uncomfortable. If I'd been a bit older and wiser I'd have just left tbh. From my experience I would sum it up as 'cultish' - I felt a huge pressure to 'convert'. They weren't interested really in teaching and informing - just telling me all non Christians were sinners.

somewherewest Sun 11-Sep-11 18:01:31

This is an interesting article on Alpha from someone who is Jewish by background and (I think) atheist.

nannynick Sat 24-Sep-11 22:21:46

I am starting Alpha this week, will let you know how it goes.

Some of the Nicky Gumbel videos are online... Who is Jesus

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