I grew up in a Christian home and going to church on Sunday was something we did as a family. Due to trauma I experienced as a child, I carried around a lot of anger, hostility, and bitterness. People described me as fun, but not nice. I believed that Jesus Christ existed. However, that belief had no bearing on my life. I was this small-town girl that moved to the big city and made it. On paper, my life looked perfect. However, I had been looking for love, acceptance, and purpose in all the wrong places. Drinking, shopping, lots of friends, a serious boyfriend, a great career, and a busy schedule were not it.
I was so empty and I knew the only thing that would help was going back to church. It was there that I heard about Alpha, a course centered around a meal, a teaching, and a discussion about the basics of Christianity.
Having the ability to talk through the topics and work through how I felt about each aspect was invaluable. What I experienced was acceptance and love by complete strangers. I heard the gospel presented in a way that was relevant to me. I understood that despite all the bad I had done, and all the people I had hurt, Jesus wants to have a relationship with me. On the weekend away portion of Alpha, I realized that the belief I held for so long that Jesus Christ existed was not the same as putting your faith and trust in him.
As I invited Christ into my life and heart that night, I felt the Lord take away all the anger and bitterness that I had harbored in my heart from the abuse I experienced as I child. He changed my heart of stone to flesh. He gave me a love for people.
I began to see God, myself, and others in a completely different and new way. Through the Alpha small group, I began to experience authentic Christian community. I felt accepted for the first time in my life. Because Jesus first loved me I could then begin to love myself. He also gave me a desire to help others experience the same transformation I had through Alpha.
After that session ended, I began volunteering for Alpha. First as a helper and then host. I loved watching Christ transform someone's life over ten short weeks. When the opportunity presented itself, I gave up my job showing million-dollar listings and began working for Alpha Chicago.
Alpha is a tool that helps churches create safe spaces for people to be real, explore faith, and build authentic relationships in the process. Practically, Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith, typically run over eleven weeks. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone is welcome.
Alpha has three main elements,
a talk on a different aspect of Christianity, see below
discussion in a small group
1. Is There More to Life Than This?
2. Who is Jesus
3. Why Did Jesus Die?
4. Why and How Can I Have Faith?
5. Why and How Do I Pray?
6. Why and How Should I Read the Bible?
7. How Does God Guide Us?
Who is the Holy Spirit?
What Does the Holy Spirit Do?
How Can I Be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
8. How Can I Resist Evil?
9. Why and How Should I Tell Others?
10. Does God Heal Today?
11. What About the Church?
Connect with Alpha Chicago to pray, give, serve or attend an Alpha near you.
Next, hear how God has used Spiritual Direction to shape me.