Lismore Baptist had been looking for a steppingstone strategy for new people.

New people were coming to church, but the church didn’t have anything to introduce them to the foundations of the faith. Looking into running Alpha, they’ve found the course easy to run and they’ve been able to shape it to fit with their church culture. Lismore Baptist is now up to their fourth round of Alpha Conversation.

“The thing I found so encouraging as the pastor,” says John Wilson, “is we had three people who did it in the first round, caught the vision of it, and now they’re the people pushing it”.

In early-2023, Lismore Baptist was about to start their second round of Alpha Conversations when John received a call from Olivia, a 29-year-old mother, asking him to baptise her children. As he usually does, John asked to have her a conversation about what baptism meant to her. Olivia said that she had no church background and had Googled how to become a Christian. Having given her life to Jesus, Olivia came to church the week before Alpha and was baptised a few weeks later. Olivia is now a co-leader of their Alpha Conversations.

“If we hadn’t committed to Alpha,” reflects John, “there would have been an awkward moment when someone like that comes to church, and we would be scurrying to put something together for her. Now we have something ready to offer.”

And the story repeated recently. Steve, a young man, came to the church, looking to explore faith and Jesus. As usual, they had Alpha starting in a couple of weeks. Steve gave his life to Jesus in the first week of Alpha Conversations.

“We just keep Alpha running along in the background ready for when people come who are exploring faith.”

Alpha is a free, Australia-made program, made up of a series of interactive sessions that explore life faith and meaning. “It’s one of those things you look back on and go ‘why didn’t we dig into this earlier?’,” reflects John, “you spend so much time developing resources, and this has already been developed. It works. And all you do is log on and press play.”


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