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Christianity Explored

22 January 2013 2 Comments

Last week we started ‘Christianity Explored’ at church. I admit it: I am not a fan of ‘out of the box’ courses and prefer something a little more contextual. Maybe it is not fully where I am theologically (and who knows where that is?) but it was really exciting.

Exciting? Well, we are rarely intentional about anything evangelistic these days. Even the word ‘evangelistic’ sounds bad: for me it has connotations of people with no social skills, sensitivity or hinterland. Perhaps ‘evangelistic’ is a poor term and the Roman Catholic idea of ‘evangelisation’ is better as it carries connotations of learning and growth. Being kind of ‘post’ I tend to shy away from invitational stuff like this- to my cost.

But a group of people gathering to ‘field test’ over 6 weeks something new is exciting. Everyone knows why they have come: to learn, to remind ourselves, to grow and to evaluate. Please note: I did not put the number of people down- I loathe churches doing┬áthat: it often comes across as boastful and ‘look at us/me’.

What was most lovely is that a disparate group put in a warm room with a clear purpose began to talk about things they had never really talked about openly for ages. At points I thought ‘Take off your shoes, for you are on holy ground’- so open were people and so heart rending were many of the questions. It really helped as someone else (a 10 min DVD) did the talking & the framework was ‘you can say anything and no one will be shocked and butt in’.

I don’t know where this one will go or what will be the ‘result’ but I enjoyed it so much…. maybe there is scope for more of this. If so, other things will have to go. But I am excited….


  • Janette Middleton said:

    I noticed your mention about this previously on twitter and asked the question, “Is it better than Alpha?” Thanks for more detail, and I ask the question again. Having used Alpha for a number of years with varying degrees of success, ( this year’s group was outstanding!) I do have some reservations about the format and materials. It is rather too ‘middle class’ for our area for one thing; our bears no relation to HTB.
    Interested in your thoughts, and anybody else’s with experience of both courses.

  • graham (author) said:

    Thanks for commenting- it is rather lonely out here in blog land!

    It is middle class- but I live in a middle class area. I found it less middle class than Alpha (Rico Tice’s voice is more ‘neutral’). With anything off the shelf I think it has to be contextualised and cannot be seen as the panacea for all ills.

    When I first encountered Alpha, it was in a Northern town and a church that was lower middle class/upper working class. The minister spoke – I had no idea that there were videos & was shocked when I found out.

    I think it only ‘works’ when people are committed to it and as part of a praying community. And I am writing that as someone who is ‘post’.

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