Faith Matters: The Alpha Course at Montgomery's First United Methodist Church


By Brittany Bivins

When it comes to answer life's big questions, many people turn to faith.
And some local churches are using that opportunity to reach out to the community and share their Christian beliefs.

The 13-week long Alpha Course is underway in two Montgomery Methodist churches. And organizers say their goal is to reach as many people as possible and answer their big questions about life and faith.

Tuesday nights are busy this time of year at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. It's when between 50 and 100 people gather for the weekly Alpha Course.

"Alpha means beginning, and for many, this is the beginning of their Christian journey," said Jay Cooper, FUMC Associate Minister

It all starts with a meal, then people divide into smaller groups.

"It creates a non-threatening environment so people can ask questions that may have been on their heart and mind for a long time, but the kind of questions they may be a little concerned about asking a particular group," Lawson Bryan, FUMC Minister, said.

"Questions of life, who is Jesus, why did Jesus have to die, what is all this business about the holy spirit and God and the church," Cooper said.

The course started in 2004, with mostly church members. Since then, the program has branched out. Now many people who attended those first meetings help lead them.

"Lay people have a prominent role in Alpha, so it's not clergy driven. It's lay led," Bryan said.

That includes volunteers like longtime FUMC member Jan Pringle.

"For me, it's given me an opportunity to know how to share my faith because it's packaged, you know, in a way that's sequential, so each week builds on the week before," said Pringle.

Pringle says that's especially important in tough times.

"If you help one individual, you know, you've helped a city. I mean, I like to think if we change one life, even if you don't change what's happening, but you change the way people view what's happening," Pringle said.

The course kicked off on September third, but there's still time for you to sign up and get involved. For all that information, you can go to the website here.

Frazer United Methodist Church is also hosting part of the Alpha Course, which meets each Monday at 6.


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