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ALPHA NEWS

October - December 2011 The Alpha Singapore Newsletter

MICA (P) 156/09/2011

CHURCHES START ALPHA COURSES FOR THE FIRST TIME

[Photo: Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Churchs Introductory Lunch]

[Photo: Leng Kwang Baptist Churchs

Introductory Dinner]

It has been inspiring to witness the dedication of many Alpha leaders, facilitators, worship leaders and helpers who work behind the scenes year after year running their Alpha Courses, said Vinnie Tang, Acting National Director. And it has been especially exciting seeing churches start an Alpha Course for the first time. One such church is Leng Kwang Baptist Church. Pastor Jimmy Boh, shared how they had been looking and praying for a life-style evangelistic platform that emphasized relationships and journeying along-side pre-believers. While I was auditing some courses at Singapore Bible College last year, the Alpha Course was mentioned as

one such platform, he said. God was truly gracious not only did he bring along people who encouraged me to find out more, our lay-leadership was incredibly supportive of running an Alpha Course. Steps were taken to introduce the Alpha Course to the church at large by setting aside two Sundays in March earlier this year to run a mock-up Alpha session that anyone could attend. Many of our members who participated had a very positive experience and looked forward with great anticipation to the actual run, said Pastor Boh. We also did a four-Sunday countdown to our Introductory Dinner and each Sunday everyone got increasingly excited when the number of invited (continued inside...)

In this edition:

Tips for running Alpha in small groups

Encouraging stories from The Marriage Course!

Resource Update: The Parenting Course Manuals, Leaders Guide & DVDs now on sale!

THE EVANGELISATION OF OUR NATION...


(...from page 1) guests grew until it crossed the 120 person-mark, and we were just overwhelmed with excitement at that point. During the Introductory Dinner we were all amazed at the attentiveness of our guests as they watched Nicky Gumbel on video. Everyone present felt the Lords presence amongst us even helpers and church members were ministered to during dinner. Eventually we had more guests than anticipated signing up for the Alpha Course, but that was a problem that we all welcomed with joy! My hope is for the Alpha Course to become part of the ministry within Leng Kwang Baptist Church, where witnessing for Christ becomes a way of life. Afterall, we all live among pre-believing F.R.A.N.S. (Friends, Relatives, Associates, Neighbours, and Strangers). My prayer is for God to use the Alpha Course in providing us the ability to continually reach out to new and near converts, so we can journey together with them growing into maturity in Christ Jesus! Not only were new churches taking on Alpha as a church wide evangelistic platform, churches such as Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Church (BFEC) who had done Alpha before were also embracing this church wide evangelistic approach. others asigned up as helpers. This inspired the committee to organise two Introductory meals a dinner on Saturday and a lunch the following Sunday. This turned out to be a good thing because people who couldnt attend on Saturday were able to do so on Sunday. In fact, church members new to Alpha also benefitted as it gave them a chance to learn about it and they signed up as well, said Geok Chye. One of the unique challenges faced by the BFEC team was managing both a centralised course and many de-centralised courses run in the cell groups. Initially we found it complicated to administer. In the past it was quite straightforward - when we ran Alpha, a set of dates were set aside and people signed up to serve or brought their friends to attend. This time round guests had the option to attend Alpha at their hosts cell meeting at home or to join the evening course at church. Some groups who usually met at home also decided to shift their meeting to join the course run at church to tap on the logistics. We also had cell groups who were trained but whose guests eventually did not turn up. But this was a happy problem for us because we encouraged them to to continue befriending their guests or other new guests, and approach them again the next time an Alpha Course was run. Eventually things worked out well. We had three cell groups who confidently did the Alpha Introductory meals as cell group parties on their own! And it wasnt just the cell groups who rose up to the challenge. Our International Fellowship for foreign workers also took the opportunity to run Alpha amongst the Indonesian and Filipino helpers on Sundays too as part of their programme. Through the Alpha Course, we hope to encourage our cell group members to catch the vision of outreach and discipleship as a way of life. When a group realises it is destined for growth and must plan for it (or shrivel and die), our hope is that group will be energised and members can fulfil the Great Commission together. Groups can then continue to run Alpha, consolidate new members and integrate them into the church.

[Photo: Small group at Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Church]

We had run Alpha six years ago so our church members are familiar with the course. This year, we wanted to be intentional in multiplying and discipling in our small groups, because of our church focus on The Word and Witness. We challenged all our cell groups to grow by running Alpha, said Ng Geok Chye, Alpha Coordinator. The committee kicked things off by sharing that doing Alpha together as a church would be a natural progression for walking our talk and there was the added benefit of engaging in evangelism in small groups rather than on ones own. We also started with a two to three week church-wide prayer for names and collected many names of prebelievers on prayer cards that we created for this purpose. Then we held a one-month pulpit series around evangelism and started our publicity on Alpha. What happened next was very encouraging 30 out of 52 cell groups signed on for training. 120 people were trained to run and lead Alpha in their groups, and many

Tips for running Alpha in small groups


We asked Mr Ng Geok Chye, Alpha Coordinator at Bethesda Frankel Estate Church for his top tips to keep in mind when running Alpha alongside their cell group ministry: #1 Help cell groups to see the benefits of doing Alpha together. Fear of witnessing is removed as everyone can do it together or the group can deepen their bonds as they embark on an activity of eternal significance.

THE EVANGELISATION OF OUR NATION...

Nations Share Good News At Alpha International Week


What did 1,500 delegates at this years Alpha International Week have in common? They all consumed more then 16,000 biscuits and numerous cups of coffee and tea. Best of all, they shared and celebrated what God has being doing through the Alpha Course and its related ministries worldwide. The diversity of delegates from across 100 countries generated a multitude of stories as they all gathered in June in London testifying to the amazing power, hope and love that comes with presenting the good news of Jesus through Alpha. India told how there are now 13,000 churches in India running Alpha and more than half a million people have attended the course. Equally astounding, 400 churches run Alpha in South Korea with 100 churches running The Marriage Course and 1.5 million people having already done an Alpha Course. Over in Cambodia 800 youths have done Alpha and in Indonesia 250 Alpha Courses have been run including several in prisons. Prisoners in many countries were not left out either. A delegate from Rwanda recounted how Alpha is now running in all 14 of the countrys prisons. At the same time half way across the world the ministry of prisons in Bulgaria gave permission to run Alpha in all of the countrys prisons this year. One key trend was the perceptible role that Global Alpha Training (GAT) played in the growth of Alpha. A representative from Tanzania said that much of the growth of Alpha has been down to GAT. He cited an example of 2 GAT teams which led to a work amongst the expatriate community and Swahili-speaking churches. Now their prayer is for a Catholic GAT to help start Alpha in the Catholic church in Tanzania. Bishop Cyril from Nigeria shared how they have run 11 GATs already and trained over 400 people to run an Alpha Course in their churches. During one GAT in Hungary earlier this year, a team of 5 from Holland trained 100 participants from 30 churches, 15 of which have never done Alpha. And a team from Scotland went to Denmark to train 300 youths to run Youth Alpha. Prisons and Catholic GAT teams from Canada, Malaysia and Singapore made their way to Uganda, and a Ugandan delegate told a story of a man who was put in prison by his wife. He went on an Alpha course in prison and on his release, when he went back to the village, all the villagers were looking to see what happened - he forgave his wife instead of seeking revenge and eventually a church was planted in that village. Encouraged by the effectiveness of GAT in developing Alpha courses that transformed lives, Nicky Gumbel challenged all the delegates to embark on 5,000 Global Alpha Training trips next year, Anyone can do GAT, you dont have to be an extrovert. To be inspired and find out what God is doing around the world through Alpha, watch videos from Alpha International Week. Also available online are UK Alpha Conference videos such as Principles of Alpha by Nicky Gumbel, and Theology Leadership by Graham Tomlin. For a full list of the videos please visit the AI Week page: www.alpha.org.sg/friends/AI2011.

#2 Put seekers and church members or Christians in different groups, so seekers are not intimidated or overwhelmed by Christian-speak #3 In cases where there are more members then guests in a group, split the group. The whole group can still welcome guests, mingle and eat together and afterwards split up after viewing the video for discussion. #4 Be flexible and be ready to adapt the administration of the courses to facilitate the variety of ways it can be done.

...AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SOCIETY

Relationship Central Conference: tools for building strong marriages and families
grandmother put an arm around the dejected boy and said, You were the only one who still had your egg in your spoon! We all need that grandmother in our lives, said Rob Parson, author of The Sixty Minute Marriage and one of the speakers in The Parenting Course DVD. The first purpose of the family, said Sila, is to provide support. The kind the boy found with his grandmother. The second purpose is to provide fun because children thrive on fun. The familys third purpose is to provide a moral compass. A family is where children learn right and wrong behavior, good and bad choices mainly from watching parents. Finally, the family is where children learn to relate, where they first learn to love. A strong society is built on strong families; strong families are built on strong marriages. shared Nicky and Sila Lee (above), co-authors of The Marriage Book and The Parenting Book. The Lees, creators of The Marriage Preparation and The Marriage Course, hosted the inaugural Relationship Central Conference on 9 July at the Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church in Singapore. Attended by more than 150 leaders from 40 churches and family life organizations, the Conference also saw the launch of the much-awaited The Parenting Children Course and The Parenting Teenagers Course While the initial focus of the Lees ministry was on building strong marriages, they saw an equally pressing need for the church to play a role in societys parenthood endeavor. Our vision is to see every church supporting marriage and parenting, said Sila. Nicky told of someone who approached Dr John Medina, a US-based developmental molecular biologist, with the question How do I get my kid into Harvard? Dr Medinas replied, Do you really want to know how to get your kid into Harvard? Go home and love your wife. Underpinning The Marriage Course at Relationship Central are the principles that marriage is critical to the wealth of every society and relationship courses make a difference if they are based on Jesus teaching. A story was told of a boy who came in last in an egg and spoon relay at the school sports day. At the end of the race, his Family is the best training ground for children to learn to relate, said Sila. (A place for) practicing relationships to look out for each other, to share, to apologise. While many of the principles for parenting apply to both young children and teenagers, it is particularly important for parents of teenagers to keep the end in mind. Sila said, We get caught up with messy rooms and all, but the end is about how they turn out, the values they embrace. What is the most important issue on teenagers mind? was a question posed to the Lees during a conference conducted previously. And beneath this question is a more fundamental one: Do you love me? Teenagers, in particular, want to be loved for who they are. And this question will be repeatedly asked in all kinds of challenging ways, Sila told the audience. All children, young and old have this emotional tank. When the tank is full, behavior is good. But when the tank is empty behavior becomes bad, said Sila. It is important that parents can read those empty tank signals and fill them, for both young children and teenagers alike, love is spelled T-I-M-E. Towards the end of the Conference, the Lees took a variety of questions, one of which was about the feasibilty of condensing the entire course into a single weekend.

[Photo: Delegates at Relationship Central Conference]

...AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SOCIETY


It takes eight weeks to make or break a habit, replied Sila. This eight-week format allows couples time to work through issues. The Lees also highlighted that The Marriage Course, does not allow for just one spouse to attend alone whereas one parent can attend The Parenting Courses. The Lees also pointed out useful tips for those planning to facilitate courses. Creating a welcoming and safe atmosphere is not optional, said Sila. On The Marriage Course, the goal is to create an ambience that will wow couples when they walk through the door, allowing them to truly feel like they are on a date, with non-threatening and relaxed atmosphere. For The Parenting Courses, the aim is to create a safe environment in which participants can let down their guard and talk about their challenges in small groups, typically organized by the age of the oldest child. Both Nicky and I have come to realize that it is couple by couple, church by church that we will see the tide turn for our society, said Sila. And it is our prayer that this Conference has created more than a few ripples that will contribute to the turning of the tide said Dr Barry Hung, Relationship Central Coordinator. . To find out more about Relationship Central courses visit www.relationshipcentral.org.sg or send an email to barry.hung@relationshipcentral.org.sg.

Relationship Central Conference testimonies


Part of the worship team at St James Church, Calvin and Susan attended The Marriage Course because it was highly recommended by a friend although they thought their marriage was ok. (At the Course), we had the opportunity to talk about things we dont usually talk about, said Susan. Calvin agreed, A lot of stuff gets swept under the carpet and you think that things are ok, were serving at the church. But since then, the couple has learnt daily renewal by clearing out stuff every day, and to be really appreciative of each other.
[Photo: Bobby and Mary from St. Johns - St Margarets]

The Marriage Course made a difference in our marriages. And make a difference The Marriage Course did indeed for Mary and Bobby from St Johns-St Margarets church. When they were invited to the Course, the couple who had been married for 51 years was skeptical. What can they teach me that I dont already know? said Bobby. But it turned out to be quite a revolution. What I thought was good for my wife was not appreciated by her, he shared with the audience. For Mary, there was a huge explosion when they got home the day they attended the course. It felt right to let him know how I felt. A shocked Bobby realized that day how much he had nagged all these years. But as a result of their experience with The Marriage Course they attended, the couple testified that they had learnt to limit the angst within each 24 hours and when we go to bed, we go to bed as lovers.

Today, Calvin and Susan, who has been married for 15 years, are running The Marriage Course at their church. Every time we run it, its like we fall in love all over again. Its been refreshing, said Susan. Nicky said at the opening session of the Conference, Its the conversation that takes place between couples that is the most important part of the course. And that seems to ring true from the testimonies of both couples.

[Photo: Calvin and Susan sharing their testimony]

...AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SOCIETY

Global Alpha Training: Answering a Macedonian Call From Indonesia


By Albert Lim, Wesley Methodist Church It was just like Paul receiving a vision of a man from Macedonia, come over and help us. And this call was from a church in Indonesia for us to visit them for Global Alpha Training (GAT). Over one and a half days from 6 to 7 August, 80 members of the church attended a GAT conducted by Choo Hong, Philip and myself, trainers from Wesley Methodist Church, accompanied by Rev Then Chee Min from Alpha Asia Pacific. All the participants were eager learners. When they sang hymns and choruses it was with much gusto and feeling I can still hear their singing in my ears. They participated in ice-breaker games enthusiastically, heartily adopted the Alpha Handshake and their appointed leaders came forward to share their discussions when called upon to do so. During the training sessions they listened attentively and actively participated in Question and Answer sessions, showing a keenness to learn and a concern for their neighbours. In spite of a heavy training schedule, with short toilet breaks in-between, they kept their enthusiasm all the way until the end of the training. Not only did the participants benefit from the training, the facilitators and GAT team gained as well because there was such a hunger - to learn and to be instruments of Gods blessings, the GAT team were blessed as much as we became a blessing to them. During the demonstration session on How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit? we conducted a time of ministry, and the results were amazing. When an altar call was given, about 40 participants stepped to the front where we all waited in anticipation and after 10 minutes, the Holy Spirit blessed us with His presence and there was hardly a dry eye in the room.
[Photo: Albert Lim (centre) and Oh Choo Hong (extreme right)]

Later on as facilitators were invited to share their experiences, one said that he felt the presence and the living reality of Jesus Christ. Another knelt down, confessed his sins and expressed a willingness to be Jesus disciple. Yet another testified how she saw a vision of many people following her example to be Jesus disciple, leading many people to faith in Jesus. At the close of the training during the commissioning, the church leaders stepped forward to answer questions by the participants. Not only did the leaders express a willingness to organise Alpha sessions among the cell groups, they also agreed to meet the cell group leaders on the following Tuesday to start the ball rolling. One leader boldly stated his vision of seeing one million members coming to know the Lord. What an amazingly encouraging sign! There are many churches in the region that need the help and encouragement we can give through GAT. Are you willing to answer the Macedonian Call for help? We are blessed to be a blessing to others, so why not avail yourself of the opportunity? Do not miss the blessing go on a GAT!

Invitation to go on a Global Alpha Training (GAT) trip many opportunities in the region!
Singapore has been called the Antioch of Asia and we invite you and your team to go on a GAT trip. During a typical GAT, church pastors and leaders are trained to use the Alpha Course. By teaching them how to fish, GAT allows them to organise and run Alpha Courses long after the training is over. And GAT teams also have an opportunity to pray for the participants to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for the evangelisation of their cities. At the moment about 10 teams have been to cities such as Medan, Bali, Jakarta, Ho Chi Min City and Yangon, said Rev Then Chee Min, Regional Training Consultant, Alpha Asia Pacific. We invite all our Alpha churches to consider making a GAT trip next year because the harvest is plentiful but the GAT teams are few. In fact churches in Indonesia and the Philippines have asked for more Singapore GAT teams to visit them. If you feel you want to answer the Macedonian call of the churches in Indonesia and the Philippines to come over and help please send an email to gat@alpha.org.sg, or visit http://gat.alpha.org to find out more.

...AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SOCIETY

New Resources! The Parenting Courses

Please look out for The Parenting Course Workshops in 2012!

The Parenting Children Course and The Parenting Teenagers Course Leaders Guides, DVDs and Manuals are now on sale at Alpha Singapore, 179A Thomson Road, Goldhill Centre, Singapore 307626 (9.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday).

The Parenting Children Course Manual $5.50

The Parenting Children Course Leaders Guide $5.50

The Parenting Children Course DVD with Leaders Guide $50.00

The Parenting Teenagers Course The Parenting Teenagers Course Manual $5.50 Leaders Guide $5.50

The Parenting Teenagers Course DVD with Leaders Guide $50.00

WHO IS JESUS?
BECOME AN ALPHA FRIEND! An Alpha Friend is one who makes it possible for Alpha Singapore to carry out its life transforming mission through a one-time donation or a monthly donation by credit card. By becoming an Alpha Friend, you will have the joy of knowing that you are making a meaningful difference, and that you are changing peoples lives forever by leaving a legacy of peace, love, joy and purpose for them. Freely you have received, freely give... Matthew 10:8b

IS THERE MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS?


In gratitude to God for His blessings, I would like to support Alpha Singapore: One-time Donation: $ _____________________________________ Monthly Donation: $10 p/m $30 p/m ($1/day) $60 p/m ($2/day) $100 p/m Other amount: $ _______ p/m DONATION MODE

HOW CAN WE HAVE FAITH?

WHY DID JESUS DIE?


WHY & HOW IDO I THE BIBLE? PRAY? WHY & HOW SHOULD READ
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Cheque (Bank: __________ Cheque No. ___________)


Please make payable to Alpha Singapore PARTICULARS Name: ______________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________ Email: ______________________________________________ Handphone: _________________________________________ Place of worship: _____________________________________


Expiry: /

WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT DO?


Please mail to: Alpha Singapore, 179A Thomson Road, Goldhill Centre, Singapore 307626

HOW DOES GOD GUIDE US? WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?


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Name on card: _______________________________________ Signature: ___________________________________________ Date: _______________________________________________ Handphone: __________________________________________

The Alpha Course - an opportunity to explore the meaning of life


Dear Friends,
We thank you so much for your prayers and continual engagement with the ministry of Alpha! Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 We are thrilled to share that more than 1000 people have had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel through an Alpha Course in the last three months alone. New venues are also opening up to run the Alpha Course. Indeed, we sense God is showing us a season of unprecedented opportunities to share the Gospel as people all around step up to evangelise in their communities. And we also praise God for new connections made at the Relationship Central Conference in July. More than 40 churches have expressed interest in using Relationship Central courses to build strong families, particularly The Parenting Course for Children and The Parenting Course for Teenagers. As this ministry grows, we seek more partners to serve with us and invite you to contact us if you have a heart to serve in this area.

Back row L-R: Philip Oh, Alice Richardson, Rev Jeffrey Tay, Rev Then Chee Min (Alpha Asia Pacific team), Daniel Lee, Theresa Jude, Rev Lam Tien Keong (Alpha Asia Pacific team), Dr Chia Wen Chien (Alpha Asia Pacific team) Front row L-R: Chiam Ai-Ling, Farida Ang, Vinnie Tang, Evangeline Tong, Mary Ng Not in the picture: Laurence Lim, Derrick Chee, Dr Barry Hung and Loh Mei Wai, Andrew Foong

In the last few months, God has been assembling His team to serve you at Alpha Singapore. Let me introduce you to my colleagues: Daniel Lee, National Coordinator Philip Oh, Head of Operations Pastor Jeffrey Tay, Local Church Coordinator Theresa Jude, Youth Alpha Coordinator Laurence Lim, Workplace Coordinator Andrew Foong,Ministry Coordinator Barry & Mei Wai, Relationship Central Coordinator Derrick Chee, Alpha in a Catholic Context Coordinator Mary Ng, Office Manager Chiam Ai-Ling, Communications Farida Ang, Resources

The Singapore team is ably supported by Alpha Asia Pacific trainers and staff. Please do extend your full support to the team and if you have any questions or partnership opportunities drop us an email at info@alpha.org.sg. On a personal note, I will be taking a six month sabbatical from mid-October onwards. This is an important hiatus in my spiritual journey where I trust God will speak to and prepare me for the plans He has in store for me. It has been a great privilege and joy serving with Alpha these past eight years, and I am grateful to the leadership of Alpha Singapore for this opportunity to rest. I appreciate your prayers that I will be sensitive to our Fathers will and that the team will continue to walk in His ways, serving you. Indeed we are confident that with Gods help and your faithful partnerships and prayers, we will continue to see more people discovering a way in the desert, and a stream in the wasteland. All the glory, honour and blessing belong to our God! Blessings, Vinnie Tang Acting National Director

[Newsletter Publisher: Alpha Singapore | Chief Editor: Vinnie Tang | Editor: Chiam Ai-Ling | Printer: Hock Cheong Printing Pte Ltd]