According to religious organisation Alpha Australia, there is a boom in faith-based learning.
The organisation revealed to Hope 103.2 that its free service has experienced “significant growth” across all Christian denominations.
Alpha involves free sessions that explore life and the meaning of faith. The program, which began in a church in London in 1977, is now available throughout the world. It is used by churches as a tool to reach those seeking to learn about Christianity.
In a report compiled by Alpha, the organisation found that in the last 12 months, 60,000 people participated in Alpha Australia sessions. And, in the last five years, there has been a 345 per cent growth in the use of its service.
In the last five years, there has been a 345 per cent growth in the use of Alpha Australia’s service.
“The report highlights Alpha’s vision to share the good news of the Gospel in Australia,” Alpha national director Melinda Dwight said.
“Everyone is welcome and encouraged to ask questions and share their point of view.”
According to the report, 1539 churches and organisations in Australia ran Alpha sessions in 2020.
Within the Catholic Church, there were more than 370 Alpha programs run for over 8000 people – a 30 per cent increase from 2019.
During COVID lockdowns, Alpha’s web-based platform, Alpha Online, has been “highly effective at reaching people with the Gospel,” Ms Dwight told Hope 103.2.
“Alpha Online is running in every major denomination across Australia.”
Ms Dwight said that Alpha leaders are adaptable at running their programs, depending on people’s circumstances.
“A great advantage of Alpha is its flexibility,” Ms Dwight said.
“Church leaders like [Queensland Anglican Reverend] Charlie Lacey have made Alpha Online a fixture in their calendar, finding it simple to run, and easy for people to participate. An Alpha leader called Colleen runs Alpha Online for single mums who can put their children to bed and log on.
“A great advantage of Alpha is its flexibility… An Alpha leader called Colleen runs Alpha Online for single mums who can put their children to bed and log on,” – Alpha national director Melinda Dwight
“Alpha Online means that unexpected lockdowns don’t disrupt the flow.”
Paving the way
Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, has praised Alpha’s method, and how adaptable it is in Catholic communities that are “looking to provide the kind of ignition we need if we are to become a more missionary Church”.
Further, Alpha has also proven to be a unique tool in helping adolescents learn more about Christianity or discover their faith. Alpha reports that more than 26,000 young people tried Alpha in 2020. And Alpha states that there are now 220 Alpha Youth Series running in Australian schools.
“Alpha exists to serve and support churches in making disciples of Jesus Christ,” Ms Dwight said.