Over 40,000 people tried Alpha Online in 2020
A letter from our National Director
The mission, as it has been since Jesus spoke the words aloud, is to make His last command our first priority. COVID has shaken people’s perception that they are in control of their lives. More people than ever are searching for answers to life, faith and meaning. We know this for certain - the imperative of evangelism applies to us all, personally and collectively.
I’m so pleased to share over the past 12 months we have seen incredible growth in the use of Alpha as a tool for evangelism across all major denominations and regions of Australia and across a diversity of settings. Over 62,000 people participated in Alpha, and many thousands came to faith for the first time. A huge portion – 40,000 – took part online.
Our digital impact and influence has exceeded our hopes and expectations. The introduction of Alpha Online has led to the inclusion of people previously unable or unwilling to physically go to a church. In this way, Alpha continues to overcome barriers to faith.
You are valued gospel partners. Thank you for your prayers, your generosity and your partnership which is being invested for many thousands of Australians to explore faith through Alpha. The seeds of our work, watered by the Holy Spirit and increased by God, will make an eternal difference in many Australians.
Your partner in the gospel,
The digital space is ripe with opportunity. Alpha Australia have generated a number of resources to inspire and equip churches to use digital invitation as a key to inviting others to Alpha and Alpha Online.
McCrindle’s latest research project “Analyse Australia 2020” points out how we’ve gone from “Westfields to Websites” and shares how emerging generations are being shaped by technology more than ever before and emphasises the importance of visual communication over social media (73% of Gen Z make purchasing decisions based on a social media recommendation!)
In a recent conversation between Ger Jones and Alpha Australia, he speaks to the verse “Go to all the nations” (Matthew 28:19) and how as the church we have been dispersed into the digital sphere. He shares,
“God is saying Go! and where do we need to go right now? Ask anyone under the age of 30 and they say you go online. The foyer has moved from the sanctuary to online, that is where we first engage with non-Christians. You can ask anyone ‘Hey do you want to see that movie or try that restaurant?’ they don’t start by going and trying it, they start by googling it.
If you’re going to engage with the lost of this generation, you need to be online.”
The Imperative of Evangelism
What is it and why is it so important?
ALPHAS RUN BY
CHURCHES & ORGANISATIONS FOR
Renovation & regrowth in Catholic Parishes
Amidst the madness of COVID-19, moving online, and eventually transitioning to a new normal, the past 12 months have been hugely significant for Alpha in a Catholic Context. Whilst Alpha Online was in full swing, our Catholic Alpha team ran the Regrowth Conference Online in 2020, as well as numerous other events, which were attended by over 600 Catholics.
As much of our nation were able to gather together again, some of our Alpha team made their way to Canberra in March 2021 to facilitate both Catholic and ecumenical events such as Eden and Regrowth, facilitating prayer, adoration, input and connection.
Although there have been numerous obstacles, the Holy Spirit has continued to work through His people by further igniting in our hearts a passion for evangelisation. If a pandemic, isolation, and societal struggles haven’t stopped us from spreading the Good News, nothing can stop us.
"Alpha has shown itself powerful in bringing faith alive in all kinds of people. Its focus is on Jesus, its method is simple and its appeal is wide-ranging. It is also well adapted for use in Catholic communities looking to provide the kind of ignition we need if we are to become a more missionary Church."
Archbishop Mark Coleridge
Archbishop of Brisbane
"After our first Alpha, we immediately decided to start three more, aiming at different demographics: youth/young adults, daytime for the elderly, and an evening Alpha. Alpha has thrown our parish into chaos – a good chaos – where people greet each other with love and joy."
Fr Josh Whitehead
Caloundra Catholic Parish
ALPHA FOR SINGLE MUMS | COLLEENS STORY
YOUNG PEOPLE TRIED ALPHA AT
YOUTH ALPHAS, OF WHICH
WERE RUN ONLINE
Young people are
finding spaces for faith conversations
“The relational approach used by Alpha has become key in helping our Christian students connect with and educate students with little Christian background. We use Alpha mainly in the running of student-led connect groups consisting of students who have come to know Christ at one of our Year level camps. The staff at Alpha have been very generous with their time, support, and resources in helping us train our student leaders and set up the different groups across our school. We look forward to building a strong and ongoing relationship with the Alpha team.
Kings Christian College
Our Strategic Approach
Establishing and continuing positive relationships with those schools that are using Alpha
Developing and improving the implementation of Alpha in schools through student-led Alphas
Connecting with schools and stakeholders through Australia to initiate more Alphas in schools
Students nationally are engaging with faith
A year of growth, a year of challenge, a year of stretching and solutions, and most importantly, a year of increased reliance on the Holy Spirit. For Alpha Youth, a focus on digital engagement was already a key priority for 2020, however COVID-19 prompted a much quicker and more thorough transition which has delivered positive results. The key change involved implementing an online Alpha Youth Series option, to support and equip ministries who were already delivering Alpha to continue the Youth Series online. Specifically, this adaptation included the creation and implementation of training materials, specific online coaching events and a dedicated website for those interested in or running Alpha Youth Series online.
We have also built capacity across our Australian Alpha Team - strengthening existing relationships and developing new partnerships with the Australian Catholic Church, Youth Alive Australia, Red Frogs and various denominational leaders.
We are so pleased to have welcomed Pastor Ben Higgins as our new National Youth Director, who holds extensive experience across Christian youth movements in Australia, and has worked as a youth and young adults pastor and a school chaplain. As such, he is well-positioned to progress our priorities in reaching young people through schools and youth ministries across Australia and has already grown momentum in each of these areas.
The employment of two additional youth-specific staff members has also significantly increased capacity. Together with our National Youth Director, these staff members have undertaken significant outreach work, research, built new relationships and strengthened existing connections, setting up Alpha Youth for continued and increased impact in 2021.
OVER 1,530 CHURCHES & ORGANISATIONS RAN ALPHA IN 2020
Serving & equipping leaders nationally
377 Alphas in a Catholic Context ran in 2020 for over 8,000 people
30% growth from 2019
As of May 2021, 220 Alpha Youth Series have been registered and running in Australian schools
31 schools are using the Alpha Youth Series for the 1st time
2020/2021 Impact Report
Our Alpha Australia Emerging Leaders network continues to grow, with over 300 Australian Church Leaders connected from a diverse range of denominations across Australia.
“The opportunity to connect and share life with other key leaders across Australia has been a huge blessing as I’ve stepped into a new season of ministry. While it may be that we’re all serving from different rooms at times, I’m deeply encouraged that we’re outworking a much bigger vision of calling and walking God’s people back home, together.”
Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn
"Alpha Emerging Leaders cohort has been an incredible opportunity to grow, with many of the lessons and perspectives having an immediate impact on my personal leadership and in shaping the ministries I serve. In what has been a season of disruption and change, Emerging Leaders has been a consistent source of wisdom and support."