As you may know, Bear Grylls has generously lent his name and brand to publicize Alpha around the world in the Global Alpha Campaign. The campaign began in various areas of Canada last fall and actually continues until the end of this year, 2017.
Alpha is an opportunity to explore life, faith and God in a friendly, open and informal environment. It is a series of talks over 10 to 12 weeks on the basics of the Christian faith, where enquirers can come to ask their big questions and hear about Jesus without judgement or condemnation. Alpha offers all the materials, including the talks and training, at no cost to anyone who wants to run or host an Alpha.
Here is the stats page for the fall of 2016. Because it may be a little blurry, I will list them here for you:
- Across Canada, last fall, 45,821 guests attended an Alpha
- 17,179 persons volunteered to be part of an Alpha team
- 18,710 guests began or renewed a relationship with Jesus (nearly41%)
- 20,935 guests were non-churchgoers
- There were 2,225 Alpha courses involving 1,170 churches or organizations
- 2.1 million people saw the Alpha campaign ads
- There were 25 million views on digital campaign ads
- And 51,723 visits to TryAlpha.ca
In Alberta, the Global Alpha Campaign was headed up by Pastor Bob Jones of North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton. In January, another campaign was spearheaded by Connections Pastor Wes Dong of Grande Prairie Alliance in the Peace Region of Alberta. Numbers for that campaign are not yet included in these stats.
Bear has an immense following around the world, and he took a real chance, and received not a little criticism, for allowing his name to be connected with such a blatantly Christian organization as Alpha. Personally, I thank God for him, and for his willingness to stand as a powerful witness to the power and grace of our Heavenly Father.
God is making a tremendous difference through Alphas in many different contexts across our nation and around our Province; from church halls to coffee shops to pubs and restaurants to prisons, schools and military bases. My prayer is that Canada and Alberta once again may become places where, more and more, we can say, as our Lord taught us, "Hallowed be Thy Name."