How Did Alpha Start?
The Alpha course has been running for more than 30 years. It began at Holy Trinity Brompton in central London, England in the late 1970s, as a means of presenting the basic principles of the Christian faith to new Christians in a relaxed and informal setting. By 1990, when former lawyer Nicky Gumbel took over the course, Alpha was a central feature of the church's life. While leading his second Alpha course, Nicky realized this course could also appeal to non-churchgoers and he adapted it, making it welcoming and suitable for such individuals.
Nicky sent the Alpha course content to representatives of 44 denominations to see if they had disagreements with the material. None asked that anything be removed - although a few asked that some of their particular denominational materials be added - it wasn't because the Alpha course is designed so that it can be used as widely as possible.
During the 1990s, the Alpha course spread – first throughout the UK and then internationally - as more churches and groups found it a helpful way to answer people’s questions about the Christian faith. Now, there are more than 60,000 courses run in 169 countries and an estimated 19.6 million people have now attended a course globally. The Alpha course is supported by all major denominations.