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Faith Exploring courses

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Faith Exploring Courses

If your church has grown trusting relationships with people who are interested in the claims of Christianity, a faith exploring course can be an excellent way of bringing a supportive structure to these conversations. Some widely used and respected resources are listed below. Contact Neil Harland if you have any questions, or want to recommend a resource not listed below.

Whichever course you use think about:
Consistency- how do the course sessions relate to participants' prior experience of your church. For participants who choose to make a faith commitment and/or become more involved in your congregation, how will your worship and discipleship patterns re-enforce what they found helpful from the course?
Persistence- most people feel more comfortable inviting people to something they have first tried out for themselves. Could you first run the course primarily for church members before inviting others? It is quite normal to run a course two or three times before you have it fine-tuned to fit with your unique context or before new people accept invitations – don't give up too quickly.
Relational invitation – most participants attend faith exploring courses because of gentle, well timed, persistent invitation from people they trust. Don't overly pressure people to come just because you have booked the church lounge, but equally don't rely on a poster to invite people for you.
Grace- the Holy Spirit has already gone ahead of us, and God's love, forgiveness and assurance is freely available for any who choose to accept. We are called to invite to relationship with Christ. But how people choose to respond is up to them.
Honesty- Does the way you describe your faith in these sessions match what you practice? Don't feel under pressure to agree with every word of the course materials, or that you need to have a "correct" answer to every question asked in conversation.
Grace-filled hosts – participating in a faith-sharing course can feel exposing and intimidating. What can you do to put people you invite at ease? Pay attention to details of location, refreshments, timing, mood and tone. Set aside time to ensure everyone in your team is comfortable in their role.
Just a start – these courses are designed to support a key early step in journeys of discipleship. How will your church actively support new Christians to continue to grow in faith?


Possibly the best known faith exploration course currently available in the UK. Alpha lasts for 11 weeks based around a shared meal, pre-recorded video talks and conversation, plus a weekend retreat (ideally residential) to give a more immersive experience. Alpha comes with a wealth of pre-prepared resources and course materials.
Originally developed within Holy Trinity Brompton, a large charismatic Anglican church in London, it is today used in a wide range of churches and settings across the UK and beyond. Reflecting its charismatic roots, it includes a strong emphasis on prayer and the Holy Spirit.


A shorter course of six sessions of one hour each using short video clips, conversation starters and printable handouts. It has been prepared with an informal conversational style (and voiced in northern accents!) and less written text than the other courses.
Resources are available either as a printed guide with a DVD or as a collection of pdfs with downloadable videos.
Start is produced by Leading Your Church into Growth, a charity with Anglican roots but which has worked extensively with Methodists and other denominations.


A ten week course based on a format of welcome, wonderings (instead of questions – language which may be familiar to those who have used Godly Play resources), a pre-scripted talk and a time for response. The authors recommend not building around a meal, instead focussing on the purposefulness of the conversations within the 90 minute sessions.
Leaders and participant guides (needed for the course) are available.
Being With was developed by St Martin-in-the-Fields, another London Anglican church. It places emphasis on Christ's incarnation (and therefore our discipleship) being primarily about "being with" in contrast to the less relational "doing to", "doing for" or "being for". It is suited for groups seeking a more contemplative approach.

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