The Alpha Course, an outreach program run by numerous denominations in countries throughout the world, has made its way to the island of Taiwan. To celebrate the victorious occasion with local Alpha ministers and church leaders, Alpha Course pioneer Nicky Gumbel and a team of ministers from the U.K. flew to Taipei for the first-ever Taiwan Alpha Conference Dec. 6-7.
In the grand hall of the Taipei Methodist Church, Gumbel's vivid and passionate address strengthened the attendants, the UK-based Christian Today newspaper reported.
In introducing the Alpha Concept to the audience, Gumbel pointed out the six main points:
- The most efficient evangelistic ministry is based on the congregation"
- "Evangelistic ministry is a continuous process"
- "Evangelistic ministry is universal"
- "The Three Modes of New Testament evangelistic ministry"
- "Evangelistic ministry by the authority of the Holy Spirit is vivid and effective"
- "The Holy Spirit is the source of strength in evangelistic ministry"
Gumbel, who began Alpha at Holy Trinity Brompton in London over twenty years ago, said he was surprised by the amazing work of Godthat He had allowed the Alpha Course to develop into an international ministry. Today, the fifteen-session program has been translated into over 50 different languages and over 6 million people have joined the course. The program runs over ten weeks to provide a practical introduction to the Christian faith.
Churches of every different type and background, including Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Free Church and House Churches are running Alpha. Because Alpha covers the basics of Christianity all churches provide the same material, making alterations only to suit the local culture.
When asked about his views on the spiritual atmosphere in each country around the world, Gumbel told the Taiwan-based Gospel Post newspaper that, "Each country is so different.
For example, Gumbel said, in Africa, there is a great spiritual revival. There are so many thirty souls; that's why there are more and more people that believe in God these years."
Gumbel noted that even though most European nations are considered to be Christian nations, evangelistic efforts seemed to be even more difficult. I think there is higher openness and room for development in Asia, Gumbel told the Gospel Post. Nowadays, the Alpha Course has been introduced into many Asian countries."
The Alpha pioneer expressed his great hope for the future of the Alpha Course in Asia particularly. "In Asia, I think India and China have a lot of room for development, he said, adding, Malaysia and Singapore are also advancing very rapidly recently.
For Korea, Alpha has been going since 1998, and now it has been implemented in many churches. Even in the Philippines, the Catholic churches have started the Alpha Course," Gumbel said.
According to Alpha, Church leaders from all denominations report the astonishing impact the course has on non-churchgoers and existing Christians in their areas. It has also spread to many secular locations - prisons, university campuses, businesses and schools.