Tisha is a non-Christian 20-something woman who lives with her parents and younger sister. She is a stranger to Christianity, and has some Christian friends in college. Her friends have invited her a few times to Alpha, the 11-week course that meets in small groups around a shared meal, where people are excited to bring their friends for a conversation about faith, life and God. Tisha was always interested, but it was always a bit of a bridge too far.
Shortly after everything in the world shut down, including every in-person Alpha meeting, Tisha received yet-another invitation to Alpha. This time, however, the group would be meeting online. All of a sudden, the bridge didn’t look so long. She accepted.
Alpha has been successful in large part because of its premium on personal contact. A few seekers sit together each week at a table with one or more leaders, they share a meal, listen to a message, and ask questions -- about life, about meaning, about how God can allow evil in the world, etc. Little by little, trust is built up, thoughts are aired, and by the eighth or ninth week, many hearts are transformed.
Tisha attended online, and by the fourth week, relationships had rapidly developed, trust was formed, and questions were flying. It seems that everything in Covid-time gets accelerated.
And then, something else even more unexpected happened.
Tisha invited her sister to join in on one of the online gatherings. There was something different about sharing online, in the relative privacy and comfort of her own home, with the ability to “go mute” and drop off without the social penalty of standing up from a table and walking out early. Tisha’s sister could join and try it with very little obligation or commitment.
Two weeks later, after listening to the two young women laughing and discussing real life questions animatedly, their mother asked what was so interesting.
So, they invited their mother.
What might have taken years, or maybe might never have happened, is happening in the these days of disruption.