Alpha Story: Mike Stewart


Reflections on The Alpha Course


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Jesus But Were Afraid to Ask.

After hearing so much about Alpha; how life-altering it is, how uplifting, and, finally, that there would be dinner served and free child-care, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. We were also actively pursuing a membership to PLC, so this was a perfect way to complete our membership requirements.

Another thing we kept hearing is that the people in your small group will become your life-long friends. To me, this sounded very lofty and “pie in the sky.” However, this old skeptic’s mind has been changed. We love seeing our small group friends in church and we’ve truly created a special bond with one couple in particular who have been so amazing to our family outside of PLC. It was a truly unexpected outcome of the Alpha Course, but definitely one that we will cherish.

The course is separated into two hours. My favorite part of the course was really Pastor Sean’s portion in the first hour and then we separate out into small groups as I mentioned above. Pastor Sean is such an engaging, friendly speaker and he really taught me things that I didn’t know, understand, or comprehend about Jesus and the Bible. I came from a family that did not attend church and have only in the past 8 years, or so, been actively going. But attending church and actually understanding the background (the “why” and the “how”) are two different things. I always thought it was looked down upon to question the Bible or to wonder, “Just who is Jesus?” The Alpha Course allows you to ask questions, to doubt, to examine and to ultimately come to your own conclusion… but to hopefully have a better understanding that will bring you spiritually closer to Jesus. I won’t spoil it, but Pastor Sean begins the whole course by talking about how close you feel to God at the beginning of the course compared to how you feel towards the end and I will say that it’s amazing how I have definitely taken steps towards the closeness spectrum.

The small groups were good. It took our group a while to get revved up and I think some folks were afraid to bring up topics that maybe they’ve always wanted to bring up but, like I said, were afraid to ask. I grew up a skeptic and I have had some deep questions for a very long time so it was nice to say them out loud and to think them over. For instance, the age old question… why (or did) God create evil? We had a really lively discussion about that one.

There was an all-day off campus retreat that, unfortunately, we had to miss. We were really bummed about it (and, honestly, I would have never thought I would be upset about missing an eight hour “church retreat,” but alas). I heard it was really great and we definitely plan to attend in the near future.

One of my favorite sessions was the night where we learned about prayer. How many times in your life have you prayed… but do you really know or appreciate why you do it or even the real power it has? This session was different because instead of small groups we were given a chance to sit quietly and pray in a no pressure environment. What personally could have felt awkward for me was emotionally powerful and moving.

So those are my thoughts. Loved it. It’s definitely worth going to even if you’ve been going to church forever and you think you know it all. You don’t and you’ll be happy to learn even more.

With free dinner and child care… a spiritual awakening never tasted so good!

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