RE-EVANGELISING THE NATIONS. TRANSFORMING SOCIETY. My friend Jo Soda is todays guest blogger:
This September I’ll be leading a small team to Zimbabwe to train 100 church leaders how to run Alpha and help them to form an action plan to spur the growth of Alpha throughout the nation. The National Alpha Office in Zimbabwe have a vision to see Alpha grow to 3000 Alpha courses in the next five years and this will be the first of fifteen national training events to serve that goal. Alpha Zimbabwe has a good relationship with a number of New Frontiers churches in and around Harare and they will also be a part of this vision.
At the end of the training we’ll be visiting Mashambanzou Palliative Care Unit to visit to AIDS patients, followed by a visit to Jairos Jiri School for disabled children in Rusape as a social outreach which I’m sure will bless us more than we are able to bless them.
For those who don’t know – Alpha is ten-week course which gives non-Christians or new Christians an opportunity to explore the Christian faith. Each session usually involves a meal/social time, a talk and a time for discussion where guests can ask questions and share opinions and listen to what others think. Alpha is a journey and for many leads to a profession of faith in Jesus and for others – an opportunity to meet some great friends and gain a new understanding of the Christian faith. Alpha is an evangelistic tool to help churches of any denomination to evangelise their local community by inviting local people to a course to hear a simple presentation of the gospel message in a non-confrontational way.
Alpha is also a missional tool the aim of which is to re-evangelise the nations and transform society.
The Alpha course is now in 163 countries worldwide and is translated into between over 70 languages. There are more than 35000 courses running worldwide and it is estimated that more than 13 Million people have now done Alpha. The goal is to accelerate the vision to see 100 Million having done Alpha in the next 10 years.
What I’ll be doing is part of the missional vision Alpha to see the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed to the nations. I’ll be training key contacts and church leaders how to run Alpha and to help them strategise how the course can rebuilt and developed in their local context and culture after recent years of devastation and persecution.
Over the first three days the team will present the principalities and practicalities of Alpha as well as to take the delegates through sample sessions of the Alpha course where they will role play taking part as small group hosts, helpers and guests to get a feel for being on an Alpha course. We will be working alongside the local team and insuring that any talks that are culturally specific are given by the local team. We will also work with a local worship team to ensure that the course is fully set in the context of Zimbabwean culture. The fourth day of the event will be specific to Youth Alpha. We are raising funds to cover the costs of the event to the effect of £4000 and hope to offer a gift of £1000 to Alpha Zimbabwe to help churches set up and run Alpha courses as soon as possible.
God has opened a door for this event to take place – but we need lots prayer for protection, fundraising and for the whole event to be a success. Nothing can be taken for granted.
So the dates for your diary are from the 6th – 15th September and I would greatly appreciate your prayers during this time. If you would like to make a donation to support the event you can donate online at, www.justgiving.com/zimgat or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more information about the Alpha course visit, www.alphafriends.org
BACKGROUND TO ALPHA IN ZIMBABWE
Reverend Nick Crawley, Rector of Avondale Anglican Church in Harare, introduced Alpha to his congregation following his attendance at the HTB Alpha Conference. The Zimbabwe NAO opened an office in the Avondale Anglican Church in 1996, was initially formed as a company, but became a registered Trust on 13 May 2002. In the early days, conferences were run in all the main centres leading to the start of courses, but only Avondale Anglican Church has continuously ran Alpha in two languages for adults and youth, usually twice a year, with only a few breaks. More recently, the alpha has been running in a private home and at a local school.
In 2008, Executive Director of Alpha International, Tricia Neill confirmed the appointment of Anderson Mudhara as the first National Director of Alpha Zimbabwe. Due to recent events in the country running training events has been difficult and there has been a lot of emigration of competent Alpha supporters, hosts, advisers and speakers. So although they have had some extremely successful Alpha programmes running in churches, schools, offices, hospitals, universities, workplaces, farms, mines and forestry enterprises around the country with even one course on the forecourt of a city office block, Alpha Zimbabwe are effectively rebuilding and developing their Alpha network. Over the next five years Alpha Zimbabwe plans to run fifteen Global Alpha Training events in all the main centres around the country.