“I found out about Alpha through my church announcements and decided it would be a good idea to attend with my girlfriend who was a new believer. Because it was held online, I thought it would be somewhat like a theoretical course to teach people about Christianity and would cover key bible verses or texts that any Christian ought to know.”
The Alpha Online Experience
Jonathan was struck by the different kinds of participants that attended Alpha. Raised as a second-generation Christian, the faith was something that he had heard all his life and hence was unfamiliar to any other kind of thought process.
“I had a different perspective from those who had grown up in a different faith. I grew up with the faith and the facts were presented to me since I was young. However, people from other faith backgrounds struggled with the truth of the gospel. The more you listen to them, the more you realise that they have a point… It’s interesting to hear how some people chose to come to Christ, and to hear the different things they struggled with.”
Being online had its perks too – “A good thing about being online was that I could join from the comfort of my home and it helped me to create an atmosphere where I can share my thoughts freely. We also got to meet people coming from all walks of life, all over Singapore. There were also those who were stuck overseas and unable to return, but could attend Alpha online after being invited by their friends.”
As for his girlfriend, who was new to the faith, coming for Alpha opened her eyes to Christianity in action. She was touched by the hospitality and warmth of the people.
“It was a testimony of evangelism without words – how to show love and hospitality to others. She was really impacted by that and it motivated her to serve in subsequent Alpha runs.”
A Timely Call
However, what Jonathan did not expect was an incident that took place during the Weekend Away session.
“Before the session, I was thinking about what to do in the future. I felt like the path I had chosen in school was not working out because of my grades. I struggled with this, and God spoke to me just a few days before the session. I was about to go to sleep when I felt Him speak to me about the option of teaching as a career.
“At the start of my Alpha attendance, I remember hearing from my group leader that he was a teacher by profession, and I found myself thinking that I could not imagine myself as a teacher; God will have to bring me to hell and back to be one. Yet, God was confronting me to consider this option, and I felt a bit scared.
“Fast forward to the session itself: My leader spent some time praying for our group and got a word from God for each person within the group. He gave me a bible verse about being led to another direction, confirming what I had heard from God. That really spoke to me and encouraged me to cast aside my doubts. After getting more confirmations, I realised that God was indeed calling me into a teaching career! I’m really glad that through Alpha I got confirmation about where God wants to bring me! This was a huge part of why I decided to serve in Alpha; to give back to God for giving me clarity in this area of my life.”
A Life Transformed
Jonathan and his girlfriend decided to serve as helpers for the subsequent Alpha runs at Riverlife. Through these experiences, he has experienced God in new ways. Challenges faced on a personal and team level were overcome quickly as Jonathan saw the power of a praying community, as well as God’s empowerment of his gifts. Jonathan and his girlfriend also grew closer to his former Alpha group leader and his wife, and are now journeying together in a mentor-mentee relationship.
He might have already chosen to be a follower of Christ, but Jonathan could still get so much out of Alpha, and continues to do so because he sees the Great Commission played out in this setting.
“Alpha shows that Christianity is not just about evangelism, but more about building relationships and showing love to one another. In Alpha, we care about every participant no matter their background. More than just talking about Christianity, we also pray for our participants and sometimes even go out of our way to care for them.
“John 13:34-35 says, ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ The love we show towards others and each other is the greatest testimony of who Jesus is. I think Alpha is a good platform to do that.
“If you have the heart to share what Christianity means to you, you should serve at Alpha. It is a place where people from different backgrounds and faith levels can come and serve. Most importantly, you will get sufficient training and won’t be thrown into the deep end. Serving as a helper at Alpha does not require deep theological knowledge or a wide range of experiences; all that is required of you is sharing your faith journey with others. You may meet participants who are on journeys very similar to yours, and these participants need to know that they are not alone. You will also get a chance to serve within a very diverse team, which will allow you to learn from many different believers of diverse backgrounds.”
Share the Gift of Alpha
Alpha is not only for those who have yet to hear the Gospel. Help more like Jonathan experience God’s transformative work in their lives.