Coffee and Craic

Coffee and Craic

Dave Dickinson

Alpha’s been one of those things that has taught us much about how to do church

Our Alpha journey has been pretty special.

We started running Alpha at Carnmoney church about 10 years ago as we tried to reach people who weren’t engaging with the church. Some were miles away, and some were closer to home. Through the years our courses have been an incredible blessing to our church. Many have come to faith, many have been refreshed and renewed, many have been healed and many have joined the church, become members and taken their place in the mission of God.

But about 5 years ago we noticed a disconnect in that the 18-35 year olds who were flocking to our services and gatherings weren’t necessarily engaging with Alpha.

So we asked the question why?
In dreaming together, asking God to lead us, learning from the young adults we had and trial and error we started to run courses in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. And it worked.

Over the last 5 years over 300 people have done Alpha on one of our courses. We were originally in an Arts venue/club but this year we moved to @Established Coffee and started inviting our world all over again.

Established was an incredible venue. Its just been voted by @CoffeeStopsUK as the 3rd Best Coffee shop in the UK for 2015. Its an amazing space situated right on the corner of one of the busiest junctions of the thriving Cathedral Quarter and proved an easy place to invite people to.

We had over 50 guests show up every week, 75% of which were aged 18-35. We started with a gig by @SullivanandGold and amazing food. We got our groups organised the next week and played ice-breakers and everyone cringed together. We had a bake off every week in groups. And most importantly, people went on a journey.

Through Alpha, at least 8 people came to faith, many renewed a faith that they had put to one side, some experienced healing, others found new answers to their questions, some met some new friends and others stepped out in faith as hosts and helpers for the first time. We all drank too much coffee. We all ate too much cake. We all had seconds at the launch night.

We laughed together and cried together. We were honest and raw and all of us left the course changed

Most of those who did Alpha have got engaged with our church community and have continued to grow in their faith, serve and begun to dream a bit about who they’ll invite next year.

Alpha is just the most amazing journey. Every time I do Alpha I’m reminded of just how special it is to be involved with something that sees lives transformed. It’s what the church is all about after all, isn’t it? We can’t wait to go again this Autumn. 

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