Tekila's Story

Tekila's Story

London, UK

I couldn’t ignore the notion that all they wanted from me was to turn up, speak my mind and be myself.

From a young age I arrived at the conclusion that God was not part of my life.

Even though my church schooling and regular Sunday church visits secured my belief that God existed, the idea that he was far too busy to help with the problems my family faced consumed me at the start of every prayer. To me, my prayers were empty words fuelled by a combination of doing what I was told and getting the words right.

God was just another unused name in my contacts, saved only for the comforting thought that he just might pick up if I called in an unlikely time of danger. Life itself was far more real than God was.

As I grew up I was obsessed with upholding the image that I was effortlessly keeping up with life’s rat race. Avoiding the shame of falling behind by immediately supressing the ever-growing feelings of regret, anger and anxiety was all that kept me going.

A religious debate with my twin brother, who always had a strong faith, left me feeling even more frustrated than I did before. I wanted phrases like ‘God loves you’ and ‘God is great’ to be more than just vague or hollow words. Seeing how much sense it made to my brother and other Christians I knew left me feeling like I was being left out of some big secret. I needed to know what all the fuss was about.

The debate ended with my brother recommending I try Alpha. Visions of a Bible waving priest hijacking my free time to self-righteously rant about God’s ‘love’ and ‘greatness’ immediately popped up in my head, and initially made me averse to the idea.

Deep down, however, I knew that I needed a fearless, non-judgemental and trustworthy companion to help me deal with my past, present and future. According to my brother, God was the man for the job, but I didn’t really know or understand him.

I decided that Alpha was the way that God would be vetted for this position in my life. When I first walked through the door, it was completely different to what I expected. My group consisted of men and women from different backgrounds who, behind the shield of agonisingly awkward small talk, seemed to be fighting the same urge as I was to stand up and scream, ‘What on Earth am I doing here?’

Nothing, from the friendly group leaders and helpers to the free food, felt natural. The idea that something so well organised was a seemingly selfless act was ludicrous to me, and I was determined to find a crack in the welcoming façade.

The challenging debate topics of Alpha kept me keen on returning to the meetings. Every week I gained a clearer understanding of the role God wanted to play in our lives, as well as a hunger for more answers. The consistency with which the hosts listened and accepted everyone’s views was incredibly disarming, and, though I was still sceptical about Alpha, I couldn’t ignore the notion that all they wanted from me was to turn up, speak my mind and be myself.

We all came from different walks of life, but during our discussions my group connected to each other’s minds instead of our jobs, achievements or backgrounds. Soon I felt like I was among close friends instead of distant strangers, and this gradually gave me the confidence to let my guard down and be myself.

Alpha didn’t affect me immediately, but it was the start of a journey and I feel like I have become who I truly am because of it. My priorities changed for the better and the strong friendships I’ve built from the course are ones I’ll always treasure.

Want to find an Alpha near you

Try Alpha

Find out more about Alpha

Learn more

Related

Rachel’s story – What’s in your hand?

Rachel’s story – What’s in your hand?

Rachel Hughes, St Luke’s Gas Street Birmingham, talks us through a kind of scalability we can swallow. Starting small can craft the culture of Alpha at your church, creating an intimate setting where people feel free to express their thoughts openly - a pivot point of a quality run Alpha.

Beth’s Story – The simple invitation

Beth’s Story – The simple invitation

On assignment to create a new Global Alpha Invitation, the team read through stories of people who have been impacted by Alpha across the UK, coming across Beth in Swansea. The alarm sounding at 4 am was chipping but brought us to the sun rising over Caswell Bay.

Jonny and Stacy’s Story – You can sit with us

Jonny and Stacy’s Story – You can sit with us

If you were looking to hear the call of the church, the assumption of a natural surrounding might not necessarily take you to a night out on the town in Belfast. And yet this is where Stacy was, keeping her hands warm with a key invitational ingredient – a cup of tea. 

Julie and Stephen's Story

Julie and Stephen's Story

After a day of being filmed for BBC One’s Songs of Praise as the subjects of a wedding day before and after piece, we caught up for a brew, to hear how they ended up on everyone’s mother’s favourite programme and ask why they see The Marriage Courses as "a tool for helping us make a marriage last a lifetime”.