Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve explored some of the ways the Alpha Course intersects with Church Planting. There are more parallels than one might initially expect, especially in the relational ways people come to faith. The Alpha philosophy fits well with that. But what comes after an Alpha class? Where is the plan for assimilation and multiplication? We need Beta.
We need to bridge into transformative study and the deepening of relationships within the church. In other words, we need to continue the discipleship process that began in Alpha. In this way, we do not squander the work done by the Holy Spirit but nurture it into growth toward maturity.
Growing as a Christian means engaging in a holistic, transformative discipleship process. Continuing in the Alpha tradition, we need to create an environment that is safe and can accommodate an honest learning process that engages all of the dimensions of discipleship. A while back, I partnered with Dr. Charles Ridley to break down the components of a disciple. Our conclusions were that holistic discipleship includes:
- Experiencing God
- Spiritual responsiveness
- Personal transformation
- Authentic relationships
- Sacrificial service
- Generous living
These then would be essential components of any Beta program.
Alpha operates on a cyclical basis: Do the study yourself then do the study with someone else. From there, Alpha groups can transition into church plants. The original Alpha groups can be leveraged to continue into disciplemaking groups. Sprinkle apprentice leaders into the Alpha groups and invite those who are interested in following up to the Beta groups. In Beta groups, the vision is to live and love like Jesus, support each other, and get involved. That’s powerful.
Churches that are already using Alpha can move directly into church planting in this way. It doesn’t matter what kind of church you are planting. The principles are the same: the grassroots reaching of people drives the DNA and connects with the overall philosophy the church will develop. For any functional church, you need to gather into communities and practice the dimensions of discipleship above.
That’s how Alpha moves into Beta.
This week, consider the following questions:
How are you currently discipling spiritual seekers?
What processes do you have in place to ensure those in your congregation are growing as disciples?
How are you preparing to multiply disciples?
More on Discipleship
If you found this blog post helpful, we recommend you check out these great resources for discipleship:
Map of Discipleship– This FREE resource helps you readily assess where someone currently is in their journey of discipleship as well as where God may be prompting them to grow next.
Guide for Discipling– A comprehensive group study that walks through the journey of growing as a disciple of Christ.