Evangelistic Courses and Resources
The Alpha course is designed for people who don't go to church and aims to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to people in a way that is relevant to them. Churches and individuals of all denominations are using the course as a way to share their faith with those around them. The courses are normally 10-weeks long with a weekend or day away in the middle. It is based around small groups of 12 people and most begin with a meal or refreshments. Each week, the talk looks at a different aspect of the Christian faith, followed by discussion in the small groups.
There are around 7,000 churches running Alpha courses in the UK, many of which are run in homes or churches, cafes or other local venues. An increasing number of courses are run by people in their workplaces, universities, residential homes, youth groups and parent and toddler groups, or are linked to social action projects and outreach activities.
For all the latest information about Alpha – news stories, up-coming events, Alpha Advisers, free advertising downloads, course registration and links to the different Alpha ministries – please see www.alphafriends.org.
Youth Alpha is specifically designed for young people between 11 and 18 years old. It is run in the same way as Alpha and aims to be friendly and fun – see www.youthalpha.org.
These courses are based on the Alpha material but aimed at students and take place on campuses, in student houses, in churches, at pubs, in cafes and even in a McDonald's! See www.alphafriends.org/students.
Alpha in the Workplace
Alpha in the Workplace is designed to fit into busy working schedules and so sessions tend to be shorter to fit into a lunch time or even breakfast meeting timeframe offering an opportunity for those in the workplace – of whatever type – to engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues. See www.alphafriends.org/workplace.
Catholic Faith Exploration is a programme provided on DVD for use in parishes, schools, colleges and prisons. It’s a fresh modern approach with easy-to-run courses that are fun and inspiring and will help people young and old to grow together in faith. The courses are flexible and can be adapted to suit the individual needs. A wide range of supporting material is available. For more information see their website www.faithcafe.org.
Cafechurch is the fresh expression of community on the high street. It brings communities into the relaxed cafe atmosphere of Costa Coffee, Gloria Jean's Coffees (and other coffee shops) to deal with issues such as stress, adoption, parenting, debt and divorce, from a faith perspective. Everyone is welcome whether a churchgoer or not.
Churches interested in running a Cafechurch in their local Costa Coffee or Gloria Jean’s Coffees should go to their website www.cafechurch.net to register and attend one of their training days, which are filled with worship, teaching and workshops to equip churches to run a Cafechurch.
4. Christianity Explored
Christianity Explored is for anyone who wants to investigate Christianity informally with a group of other people. Whether you have previous experience of church, Christians and the Bible, or none at all, this course is for you. It is different from other courses as it focuses on Mark’s Gospel with its emphasis on who Jesus was, what his aims were and what it means to follow him. It lasts 10 weeks, including a weekend (or day) away when you can explore other areas such as the Bible, the Holy Spirit, prayer and the church. To find out more information, or if you are a leader and would like to run the course yourself go to www.christianityexplored.org where you can purchase all the materials you will need.
5. Emmaus: The Way of Faith
The Emmaus course aims to encourage non-believers to become Christians and get involved in the life of the church as well as nurture new Christians and inspire life-long discipleship. Based on the model provided by Jesus in the story of the Emmaus Road, it progresses through three stages – contact, nurture and growth. It begins, in Contact, by encouraging the vision of the local church for evangelism and giving practical advice on how to develop contact with those outside the church. The full programme includes a 15-week Nurture course that covers the basics of the Christian life and four Growth books that help Christians to deepen their understanding of Christian living and discipleship. There is also a Youth Emmaus course for 11- to 16-year-olds.
For more information and to download/purchase resources see www.e-mmaus.org.uk
6. Essence Course
Essence is a six-session interactive programme to stimulate a deeper spiritual life, drawing from the teachings of Jesus and the Christian mystics. It is designed for all who recognise they are on a spiritual journey and who have a desire to travel further on that journey. Written from a Christian perspective, the programme aims to encourage all fellow travellers on their pilgrimage, both within and outside the church community. The hope is that all who participate will deepen their spiritual life and come to a richer understanding of the God whose glory is revealed in a woman or man who is fully alive. To download the relevant documents go to www.emergingculture.co.uk/essence.
7. Evangelism UK
Evangelism UK serves the network of church leaders with a national role and responsibility for evangelisation in the four nations – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. See www.evangelismuk.typepad.com/ for more details.
8. Lyfe Course (Bible Society)
Lyfe is a fresh approach to getting to know the Bible better by meeting regularly in small groups in informal settings (such as a coffee shop) to discuss passages of scripture and how they relate to everyday life. Lyfe aims to transform your life by connecting you with God and your world. It can be used by anyone even non-Christians. To download a free copy of the Lyfe special edition welcome pack go to their website www.lyfe.org.uk which gives you all the information you need to start a group and discuss passages from the Bible.
9. NOOMA DVD (Zondervan)
NOOMA uses the medium of short films on DVD, with communicators who really speak to you, to provide spiritual direction in a real and meaningful way. Each NOOMA touches on issues that we care about, and want to talk about and provokes great discussions in any group of people. See their website www.nooma.com for more information. You can buy the DVDs through most major UK Christian bookshop websites.
ReJesus is a website which aims to be a ‘buzzy’, talked about website that is a key evangelistic resource on the Internet for individuals and churches to share information about Jesus with those who have little knowledge of him. It’s easy to use and enables people to find out more at their own pace. The site has five sections: the story of Jesus and his followers; explains how Jesus is alive today and how we can meet him; provides an opportunity for online discussion; has an art and poetry section; gives suggestions for prayer and reflection. For more details see www.rejesus.co.uk.
11. RUN iMatter DVD
Chris Stoddard, the director of the RUN (Reaching the Unchurched Network) has worked in partnership with HOPE on a ten-minute DVD called iMatter. It is designed to be used as a free give-away by churches, groups and individuals to those within their communities and has been priced accordingly (the more you buy, the cheaper it becomes). It is both a tool that will help open up dialogue with people who feel they may like to explore faith and an invaluable introduction to how they might develop their spiritual journey further. It asks lots of questions and explores hopes, dreams and aspirations. For more information see www.run.org.uk/R/imatter.
Start! is a basic six-session introduction to the Christian faith for use in small groups of 5 to 10 members with 2 leaders. It is primarily designed for people with no previous knowledge of Christianity and works well with baptism families, wedding contacts, bereaved families, parents of children and teenagers, and people intending to do an Alpha course who are new to the church. The format for the sessions (which aim to be informal and enjoyable) includes the use of videos and allows time for discussion and reflection. The venue can be decided according to the nature of the group.
To order a Start! pack costing £39.95 with everything you need to run the course (including a DVD, course leader’s handbook and a CD-ROM) go to the CPAS website www.start-cpas.org.uk/overview.htm or ring 01926 458400.
14. Y Course
The philosophy behind the Y Course is simple – everyone has the right to encounter the good news about Jesus in a setting where they feel at home and in a way which is relevant. The Y Course is an eight-part evangelism series on DVD answering the questions on everyone’s mind and focuses on Jesus rather than the church. Each 30-minute talk is introduced by Steve Chalke and includes speakers such as Jeff Lucas and Joel Edwards.
The Book of Y (the revised version of Beyond Belief) by Peter Meadows and Joseph Steinberg forms the basis of the Y evangelism course and can be purchased from Christian bookshops and websites for £7.99.