A New Model

A New Model

Philippines

Alpha presents new concepts that take time to be absorbed into the culture of the church; so, we must take a slow and steady approach when desiring to successfully launch Alpha in a new church.

Hanniel Fernandez, National Director of Alpha Philippines, has come up with a brilliant way of working with churches to run and successfully launch Alpha in their communities.

In the Philippines, we have engaged with and successfully launched Alpha in churches across the country. This has been the result of a method we call AETS: Acquaint, Explain, Train, Sustain.

To successfully launch an Alpha means that the church has 

  • Completed one Alpha run.
  • s committed to the long-term running of Alpha.
  • Boasts a strong buy-in from senior leaders and the youth ministry.
  • Is willing to run Alpha according to global guidelines.
  • Has seen results in terms of leadership development and growth in numbers.
  • Has a strong desire to integrate Alpha church-wide.
  • Is strongly involved in activities organised by the national Alpha office of the country.

Acquaint, Explain, Train, Sustain

Acquaint: Lunch. Get to know the senior pastor; minimal talk on Alpha; see if the church and Alpha will mix; obtain blessing of senior pastor to train youth group.

Explain: 1 hour. Give overview of Alpha to youth leader and core team; prep them for training; build relationship.

Train: 7 hours max. Instructional training; go through a 10-point worksheet resulting in a take-away action plan; help the team to strategise.

Sustain: 11 weeks. Hand-hold throughout the first run of Alpha; speak at launch; mentor leaders; help administer Alpha weekend; handle ministry; ensure successful completion. Assess at the end; plan and train for 2nd round.


Our Evaluation of AETS

It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive, but unavoidable. Alpha presents new concepts that take time to be absorbed into the culture of the church; so, we must take a slow and steady approach when desiring to successfully launch Alpha in a new church.

AETS works with two Alpha trainers handling five churches at a time. Key to more Alphas running is to increase the number of Alpha trainers performing AETS and not to cut short the process (e.g., by eliminating or limiting the Sustain stage).

AETS is nothing new — it’s derived from the best practices of national Alpha offices around the globe.

By counting the number of churches wherein we have successfully launched Alpha — vs. the number of Alphas run — we can better assess the level of buy-in of Alpha in the Philippines. We desire a stronger buy-in vs. more courses run (the latter should result from the former). 


Looking Forward

We have successfully launched Alpha in eight churches in the past two years using our AETS model. By Q4 2015, we hope to have successfully launched Alpha in an additional 20 churches (through the Alpha community).

If we increase by 100% annually from 2015, we’d have launched Alpha in a total of 890 churches by 2020 and achieved 20% of the market share of (120,000) Protestant churches by 2025. 

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Sheela's Story

Sheela's Story

The idea of running Alpha in the workplace honestly stemmed from a practical reason – late working hours were a barrier to my colleagues being able to attend Alpha at church. It made sense to bring Alpha to the workplace for those who were interested to give it a go.

I remember feeling quite nervous and unsure the first time we ran it back in 2014. I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even turn up! ‘Ye of little faith’ I remember a friend saying to me when we ended up with a solid group of about 20 in that first round. Since then, we’ve run Alpha four times - sometimes with larger groups, sometimes with smaller groups - but each experience has never failed to be just as amazing.

The most interesting aspect for me about running Alpha in our workplace was the immediate connection that people made from having something fundamental in common – where they work. There was little need for breaking the ice and discussions took off from day 1 with guests feeling comfortable sharing their thoughts and perspectives.

Alpha in the workplace complements what the church is doing by reaching out to a community that might not have been able to be reached. So many of us know that being out there in the corporate world trying to make it in the great rat race can get tiring and it’s only a matter of time before one begins to ask “Is there more to life that this?” – which is a question that was on the minds of our guests when they came. Alpha provided that safe space for conversations that might not have taken place otherwise.

The most memorable account from a guest for me comes from a guy who had attended our first ever run of Alpha. Post-Alpha, he told us that while was hesitant initially about the whole idea, eventually the weekly sessions became a place of refuge for him in the busyness of work. He said that it was a truly unexpected experience - “Work is what I had associated with stress and a lack of peace but through Alpha, work became a place I found hope, peace and faith.”

It’s not smooth sailing all the time but it is stories like this and many more of that nature that remind me that even if it’s for one person each round, it’s still worth it. And I’d just love to encourage anyone who’s thinking about it to just give it a go! The training and material make the process really simple to get started. Your adventure of a lifetime in running Alpha is just around the corner… trust me, it’s worth it!

Work is what I had associated with stress and a lack of peace but through Alpha, work became a place I found hope, peace and faith.
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