Gerard Long, an evangelist, author and speaker, heads up AlphaUSA and says that the number of churches using Alpha grew by 29% in 2011.
In this interview Gerard outlines the course and talks about the effectiveness of invitational evangelism in making congregations more vital and energetic.
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Synopsis Alpha has been offering its 10-week course, which is usually run through churches, for nearly 20 years and it’s executive director is excited about recent partnerships that are bringing the course to even more congregations: its goal is to quadruple the course’s saturation in the next 3 years. Here are my notes from the interview:
Encourages Commitments to Christ
Gerard says half the people who go through Alpha make first time or renewed commitments to Jesus – and few other programs can match this.
Growing Partnerships One of the benefits of secularization is increased partnerships with once-distant denominations. Look for Alpha partnerships with the United Methodist Church, the Assemblies of God, Young Life, CRU, and Willow Creek.
Alpha is now coordinating work between course offerers (churches, jails, schools etc.), and sharing the advertising, so that whole cities will hear of this work in large campaigns.
About Gerard Long
Born in the U.K., Gerard Long holds a degree in banking, working for HSBC for 30 years. He also served as chairman of Christians in Finance. Concurrently, Gerard worshiped in a house church, serving as pastor for 17 years, and becoming acquainted with The Alpha Course which is in 169 countries and has seen more than 16 million people participate.
In 2006, Gerard was named head of AlphaUSA, overseeing its use in the United States. In 2010, approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. made a commitment or re-commitment to Christ on an Alpha course.
Gerard is also author of the book The Breakthrough, developed in cooperation with world-renowned business expert and bestselling author Ken Blanchard and is now working on a book on loss and grief. Gerard blogs on evangelization and church growth. He lives with his wife Jeannie near Chicago and enjoys spending time with family and friends, his two golden retrievers, golf, skiing, tennis and gardening.