Church of the Nativity is located in Parkview Estate in Ikoyi, Lagos and the church recently concluded running Alpha in 7 different locations through its newly established home cell.
We caught up with Mrs Rita Olarewaju who co-ordinates Alpha in the church to understand the journey from one big Alpha centrally located in the church to 7 locations. We hope you find it inspiring
Briefly describe the church and the vision of the church:
Church of the Nativity is an Anglican Church in the Diocese of Lagos located in Parkview Estate. We are a Family Church where everyone feels loved, nurtured and valued. Our mission is to establish, grow and maintain a bible-based, holy spirit-filled Church; with the primary vision of bearing fruit for Christ.
How did you get to know about Alpha and for how long have you been running it?
We have been running Alpha for about 4 years now. I first knew about Alpha when my family was living in South East Asia. It was the model on which our cell group in our local church was run. Upon joining the church, a few members who had been exposed to Alpha and had run it in their private organisations had been encouraging the church to run the Alpha course. Thankfully, the Vicar at the time, Ven Tunde Oduwole approved it in 2015 and Mrs Biola Ogunbiyi was invited to envision the Church.
In the first run, we had over 50 active participants who have continued to participate in church work in one capacity or the other.
What was the experience like running Alpha in the church before this time?
We had run a couple of Alpha courses centrally before now i.e one single corporate Alpha class at a time - meeting in the Church Hall. The classes have always been supported by local hosts/ helpers from the church, volunteer Alpha facilitators and the Alpha National office.
Why the decision to run Alpha in multiple locations?
We decided to run it in multiple locations as a way of creating a good foundation for the Church Cell groups which were birthed in 2019. The Cell groups got established as an outcome of the Lenten Bible studies directed by the Diocesan Bishop during the Lenten period for the Diocese via Cell groups. This was very well received such that the current Vicar of the church, Ven Tayo Aduloju encouraged the Cell groups to continue as a way of deepening Christian Faith. The Alpha course was then approved to be the first programme to be adopted by the Cell groups post - lent.
How did the church get it done, any major challenges?
Given that we had 7 Cell groups, the main challenge was in getting sufficient hosts and helpers to support the cell groups, as 10weeks can be a long commitment if hosts/ helpers need to travel etc. Also, we were uncertain about how to balance live talks and videos given that it was decentralised. But we were able to work things out.
The videos and talking points from the Speaker's Notes were excellent and easily adaptable for use in different locations.
We also didn’t want to fragment the Holy Spirit Day and the Celebration Dinner, so those two events were centralised to ensure a sense of community and quality of experience. The Lord had it all planned and it all worked out well in the end.
“The videos and talking points were excellent and easily adaptable for use in different locations . We also didn’t want to fragment the Holy Spirit Day and the Celebration Dinner, so those two events were centralised to ensure a sense of community and quality of experience.”
What are the benefits of running it in multiple locations, any significant story of impact?
It was an awesome experience with lots of amazing testimonies including a Muslim who gave his life to Christ, a man that had never been to a church before actually attending, etc. Also, having it in various locations made it easier for members of the Church to attend one closest to their homes, and also for non-members who wanted to join the course.
Some got to know we were running the course through the Alpha website & national office and were able to join a cell group near them thus making it truly interdenominational.
“It was an awesome experience with lots of amazing testimonies including a Muslim who gave his life to Christ, another man that had never been to a church before actually attending etc.”
What is the church plans regarding running Alpha going forward?
The Church of Nativity remains committed to running more Alpha courses and we hope to get a critical mass to run one in the nearest future.
When is the next course start and how can people who want to join your Alpha connect with it?
We are praying towards running an Alpha course early next year by God’s grace. Those who would like to join the Alpha programme can kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We will contact them with relevant details closer to the time.
Want to know more about Alpha? Check out more here