Alpha is a great example of my metaphor of the path. (You can read a description of that metaphor here if you’re not familiar with it.) Alpha focuses on finding seekers in the parking lot who want to explore spiritual things. The participants have dinner together each time they meet. It’s a relational process that you journey alongside others and you can ask any questions. There are no dumb questions, which helps people along their journey of finding Jesus.
Many churches run an Alpha program and see people reached with relational community. But then there’s no follow up journey: Alpha groups, but no beta groups. What you win people with, you win them to. The same relational, process-oriented format that wins people to Jesus can help them learn how to continue following him as disciples in missional community.
Churches often have forgotten the power of building on what’s already working for them. What we want new believers to move into should be in the same flavor and dynamics that they have experienced and responded positively to before. How could we birth beta groups out of Alpha that would be disciplemaking communities for new believers?