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Would someone mind talking to me about the Alpha course?

(11 Posts)
LeoTheLateBloomer Sat 17-Sep-11 19:01:00

I've been thinking about doing one lately and have just read in the local paper that a nearby Church will be running one soon. I'm taking this as a sign that I should do it but I have a question:

Does the denomination of the Church have a bearing on how the course is delivered? I go to a Congregational Church, mainly for convenience and the fact that I know people who go there. I really like how informal, welcoming and friendly it is and it's not too OTT in its preaching.

Looking at the website of the Church running the course, it seems a bit more full on. It's called a 'Family Church' but used to be the Baptist Church. They're really into healing and I've actually started feeling a little uncomfortable the more I read.

I feel like I'm rambling a bit and not making much sense. I really want to find out more about the Bible and feel like an Alpha course is the answer but don't want to be put off if I'm going to feel too preached at.

Am I making any sense?

Pancakeflipper Sat 17-Sep-11 19:09:40

You are making sense. I did an Alpha course. And I have stayed at the church that ran it ( well it's ever so handy.. its' the nearest!). I don't see me staying at that particular church for years to come though.

I don't know if the denomination has a huge bearing on Alpha. Probably the delivery of it.

I think the content will be the same but each church delivers it very differently.

Our church is Methodist and focuses on good food. Had a 3 course meal first. And they avoided us just listening to the DVD ( I have heard of churches doing that and it must be so dry and dull). We had a 20- 30 min talk then into groups for discussion for about an hour.

So I haven't answered your question at all. If I was you I would go. You might be pleasantly surprised.... You might connect. You might not. But you won't lose out except a few evenings not at home. And if it turns out hard core then wait until you find another course at another church.

It sounds like the church you are talking about is big on the Holy Spirit. And that is freaky at first.

LeoTheLateBloomer Sat 17-Sep-11 19:31:04

Thanks Pancake, yes, the Holy Spirit is mentioned all over the website.

You're right, I've nothing to lose by giving it a go. Might ask a friend to go along with me - not that confident on my own!

Ihavewelliesbutitssunny Sun 18-Sep-11 14:22:13

I don't know anything about 'congregational' or 'family' Churches. But will try and answer your question based on what I know the Alpha course. I think it is influenced a little bit by the denomination of the Church that runs it but this shouldn't be significant. The discussions in small groups are a big part of the alpha course and these are influenced by the people who come along rather than the people running the course iyswim. As Pancake says I think that it is better for the talks to be delivered 'live' as it were rather than by DVD. I've known cases where Churches of two different denominations have run Alpha together eg Baptist and CofE and this seems to work well so I would say this shows that the course is not too influenced by denomination.

supergreenuk Sun 18-Sep-11 14:30:50

I wouldn't be surprised if your church does an alpha course. You might want to ask if that would feel more comfortable. Each church no matter how happy clappy will follow the same topics but may do it in different ways. I have done it with DVD and without. Don't be afraid of the holy spirit. That is a topic covered and it may help you understand. For me the holy spirit is important to include in a Christians life. It's what gives a church life and purpose and I would be weary of a church that doesn't preach it.

NotADudeExactly Mon 19-Sep-11 07:24:06

I'm an atheist but considered taking one out of pure interest, so I read up a bit. From what I understand, the course is supposed to concentrate on the stuff that most if not all Christian denominations actually have in common rather than on specific points of denominational doctrine.

That having been said: it seems very unlikely that the attitude of the person/s delivering the course would Have no influence at all on how it's delivered. There's an atheist guy who took the course and blogged it (Google "Alpha Course Review"). His descriptions sounded way more American evangelical crazy speaking in tongues christian than what I am used to from the CofE congregation that I grew up with and of which my father is still a member.

LeoTheLateBloomer Mon 19-Sep-11 07:39:16

Thank you for all your replies.

I've contacted a friend who's involved in my local church and she said they ran one a few years ago but there are no plans for another at the moment.

I know the Holy Spirit is important, but some churches really make it all about the miracles and healing, big power etc, whereas I'm a little more low-key than that (not sure if I'm making much sense there).

I also realise that the content will be the same in each church, I just think it's the delivery that will be key. I really don't want to be put off by feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed by a massively evangelical approach.

Another friend has said she'll go with me to the introductory evening. She's done one before but feels like she's slipping so might do this one with me.

I really want my faith to grow stronger and I suppose I'm just worried that it's not going to be what I hope for.

Thanks again smile

supergreenuk Mon 19-Sep-11 08:34:58

Introductory evening sounds like a good idea. Hope you get lots out of the course. Xx

Ihavewelliesbutitssunny Mon 19-Sep-11 14:07:30

Going to an introductory evening with a friend sounds like a great idea. I think go along and see what its like, don't worry too much about it not being what you hope for as it is essentially an introduction course to Christianity and will open up connections and other opportunities at Church and with Christians. I think its a really exciting way to explore faith. Keep us updated on here about how you get on. This time last year there were quite a few mners doing the Alpha course and it was really interesting to see everyone discussing their experiences on here.

WillowFae Tue 20-Sep-11 22:58:02

Yes ihavewelliesbutitssunny - I can't believe it was a year ago that the group of us on here started the course!

LeoTheLateBloomer Wed 21-Sep-11 07:03:59

I've phoned about the introductory evening.

My only slight concern is the timing. It runs from 7-9:30 so I'd need to make sure DD is in bed and asleep before I go. I'm a single mum so I wouldn't want whoever's looking after her to be having to get her settled. (Plus I'm normally asleep by 9:30 blush so that could be interesting!)

I'll keep you posted. smile

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