How Alpha Transformed Our Church - Rev. Dr. Ogunlusi

How Alpha Transformed Our Church - Rev. Dr. Ogunlusi

The Rev.  Richard Ogunlusi is the Vicar in charge, Church of the Messiah, in Ile- Ife, Osun state in the south-western part of Nigeria.

COM for short is a church under the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. It is a church refer to as ‘Citadel of Biblical and Exciting Christianity’. And this is largely due to the excitement that Alpha has brought to the church.

The church is located about 500 meters away from the main gate of Obafemi Awolowo University, One of the first generation of higher institutions in Nigeria.

The Rev.  Ogunlusi introduced Alpha to the church in 2013 after he heard of its impact from other church leaders at the 2013 Alpha Global Leadership conference.

How he came to know about Alpha

Having heard about Alpha from his Diocesan Bishop for priests to use the Alpha tool, In the year 2013, he went for the Alpha Leadership Conference, London, where he met with other church leaders running Alpha, hearing the impact of alpha in the different churches he decided that he would try running Alpha when he gets back to his parish.

On getting back to Nigeria, he shared his plans with the church leadership and so, they started with their first Alpha.

Rev. Dr Ogunlusi (Left) and Nicky Gumbel During the Alpha Leadership Conference

The first course was attended by 20 people, who are from the church. By the time the second course was run, about hundred people attended and these are majorly students from the university campus, who were invited by people who attended the first course.

According to The Rev. Ogunlusi,” We can say from our experience now that Alpha can be run in Nigeria communities not just in UK, Alpha has given us tremendous opportunities to present the gospel in a friendly manner to people that ordinarily would not have stepped into the church. We have had several people of other faith try Alpha with us, we have witnessed guests who ordinarily would not call themselves Christians coming to accept a relationship with Christ, while some who have disconnected from the faith made a new commitment to God”.

"Alpha has given us tremendous opportunities to present the gospel in a friendly manner to people that ordinarily would not have stepped into the church."

In his experience of running Alpha, team training and keeping to the Alpha recipe is very important to running Alpha effectively and experiencing good result. It doesn’t matter the number of experiences you and your team have gathered running Alpha you always need to train your before you start a new course.

Keeping the Alpha course free from any denominational attachment has been very helpful, as many who are of different denominations can freely come to explore Alpha and ask questions bothering them, people from different denominations and even those who are not of the Christian faith.

Rev Dr. Ogunlusi with some of his Alpha team

Rev Dr. Ogunlusi with some of his Alpha team

“Alpha has been a key evangelism and discipleship tool for our church. Prior to Alpha at the Church of the Messiah, we have tried different things to reach the youths and win more members without any significant outcome. The introduction of Alpha was exactly what we needed at the time when we were almost getting frustrated.

“Alpha has been a key evangelism and discipleship tool for our church. Prior to Alpha at the Church of the Messiah, we have tried different things to reach the youths and win more members without any significant outcome. The introduction of Alpha was exactly what we needed at the time when we were almost getting frustrated.

“We have added more members through the Alpha course. Even those that did not become church members retain their association with the church through friendship with members. We have quite a number that has joined the Alpha Team and became very committed, although they attend other church denominations. The body of Christ is thereby strong and united.”

After the first Alpha course in 2013 with 20 people in attendance, Church of the Messiah has been running Alpha twice every year for the students, with more than five hundred students reached with the gospel of God’s love by the church.

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Alpha Made It Easy To Share My Faith - Philip's Story

Alpha Made It Easy To Share My Faith - Philip's Story

Lagos

I found out that Alpha can be run anywhere. Our friendships have become stronger and more meaningful.

My name is Pius onum Philip, a student at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos. I am from Benue state but born and brought up in Lagos. So, I usually tell people, “My parents are from Benue but I am from Lagos.”

I grew up in the barracks. Life in the barracks coupled with some family challenges made it hard for me to take my faith seriously. My journey in the Christian faith began on the day of my baptism in 2005. From that time onward, I resolved to be a committed follower of Christ.

I first heard about Alpha in 2016 through Andrew. He's a friend and former colleague at the office I worked in before my admission to study Civil Engineering at Yaba College of Technology.

I remember him asking me if I knew about Alpha. I answered, “Of course I know alpha to be a symbol for variation between variables or entities in mathematics. Alpha is also the first letter of the Greek alphabet. I also know alpha as a name ascribed to God as the first”. But I found out he was talking about something different.

He invited me to an event where I learnt more about Alpha, and how to run it. There I got to know what Alpha is. I liked the idea of Alpha but I was still not convinced to run it. Being a Catholic, I had reservations about Alpha being ‘another denominational thing’. But the presence of other Catholics at the event on the first day gave me a sense of peace and comfort.

Despite this, my decision to run Alpha was not immediate. I didn’t feel confident I had understood it and how it works. Then, I was invited to another training event. It was after that I finally said to myself, “Guy, no more excuses, you need to do something". So I decided to run it and see.

One of the things which influenced my decision was my desire to see fellow youths draw closer to Christ. I wanted to create a space where we could come together to explore the Christian faith. I wanted to see our discussion progress from civil engineering, football and girls to faith in God. Thus, I decided to run alpha together with some of my course mates in school.

 

After deciding to run Alpha, I still had other concerns. I wasn’t sure how I would start, and how I was going to convince my friends to come. I had no idea where I was going to get food. I was also afraid they might see Alpha as ‘another church programme’.

But, along the way, I found out that Alpha can be run anywhere. One of my friends agreed to host us in his room every Friday after lectures. So, I invited other friends, and about thirteen of us met every week in the hostel after lectures. We shared biscuits, watched an episode of the Alpha Film Series and then had discussions. Despite the diversity of religion and faith, we all enjoyed the sessions.

With encouragement from Andrew, everything turned out very well and beyond my fears. Running Alpha was helpful for my friends and I. I noticed great transformations in many of them.

Some started to read the Bible on their own with no one pushing them to. Some now pray on their own. For others, harmful habits just fizzled out. Our friendships have become stronger and more meaningful.

Running Alpha opened my eyes to see the beauty of fellowship over food. It helped me see the importance of sharing our Christian faith and giving people the opportunity to express their opinions. 

Running Alpha has equipped me to reach more people. And now, with my friends, we're working toward running it in the church. I believe that Alpha, as a tool, will help us in reaching more youth with the love of Jesus, and help them discover and build a relationship with God. 

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How Alpha Transformed Our Church - Rev. Dr. Ogunlusi

How Alpha Transformed Our Church - Rev. Dr. Ogunlusi

”Alpha has given us tremendous opportunities to present the gospel in a friendly manner to people that ordinarily would not have stepped into the church. We have had several people of other faith try Alpha with us, we have witnessed guests who ordinarily would not call themselves Christians coming to accept a relationship with Christ, while some who have disconnected from the faith made a new commitment to God”. - Rev. Dr Richard Ogunlusi (Church of The Messiah, Ile-Ife)

My Journey - Ben's Story

My Journey - Ben's Story

God met me where I was and I encountered Him in a way that was really specific to me. Life has become completely different - Ben (Lagos, Nigeria)

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