I mentioned earlier that we had met Peter, the new director of Alpha-Ireland, at the Tine conference in Feb. Peter expressed interest in meeting with us to look at CBSI as a potential follow-up to Alpha. We arranged earlier in the week to meet today in downtown Dublin.
Peter and I (Sam) had a very productive time together and the future looks bright for ongoing collaboration between Alpha and CBSI in Ireland. The problems we face in Ireland are:
- Very few people have any experience in personal Bible reading,
- A very limited number of churches promote personal Bible reading / study,
- Of those who are willing and motivated to study the Bible, a very small percentage are willing to be responsible to lead a study
With these problems existing, we have learned over the years that Alpha is a much easier “entry-point” for the Irish than CBSI because Alpha does not involve any homework/preparation for participants and less leadership responsibilities for the organizers. Unfortunately, there is still a “huge jump” from Alpha to CBSI. We have found good success with Alpha graduates using CBSI, but it required an experienced leader who was willing to give it a try.
Peter and I agreed that the major drawback for leaders in CBSI is the requirement for them to do a teaching / wrap-up talk after the discussion time. We felt that an effective alternative would be to provide video teaching to go with the discussion as Alpha does. Fortunately, this is a project that is already being pursued in the U.K. with a CBSI study called “God’s Amazing Book”. Peter and I felt that this would be a good study to use as a transition between Alpha and CBSI and that it would be even more effective with Irish teachers.
The U.K. CBSI director was in agreement and thought that it would be good to have the different voices for the different countries. The job now is to organize the teachers … pray that God will lead us to the right ones who are available and willing.
Peter was ‘on-board’ at the end of our meeting and told me he would be calling four of his Alpha leaders who were looking for good follow-up to recommend us and give them my contact information. He also had some other contacts that he thought might be interested and was also going to contact them. One of the main struggles he is facing in Alpha is expectations in churches that doing the Alpha course is going to revolutionize their churches when they don’t provide anything to follow Alpha that would help reap the benefits of going through Alpha. We are hopeful that this partnership will produce lasting results within churches that will contribute to the growth of both Alpha and CBSI.
Pray with us toward this end. Thanks you for standing with us!