A message from the Executive Director

Alpha For All

This has been a defining year for Alpha in Europe and the Middle East. We served the church in new ways, transforming the way we operate through online training and delivery of courses. This enabled 8% more churches to run Alpha and 20% more participants to try Alpha this year, even as the Covid-19 pandemic kept churches restricted. Doors closed but the Church didn’t, as Alpha enabled people to connect and develop a relationship with Jesus in a new way from their own homes.  

Anyone anywhere was able to come. With unlimited digital reach, Alpha genuinely became available for all. In the German-speaking countries ‘Alpha für Alle’ typified this new online approach, where our national teams empowered 130 churches to come together and host 1160 guests on a centrally organised course. Similar united large online courses were run in Italy, France and other countries. Alpha ran without borders, and in more languages. We saw a former Kurdish refugee running Alpha from Canada for friends still stuck in the refugee camps of Lebanon. 

Training webinars became the norm, increasing availability and bringing us closer to the church: The CEF helped us to focus, communicate with shared language and serve the church effectively. We started the shift to digital marketing, increasing visibility, telling the story in new ways of lives transformed and churches reaching out. The global investment allowed us to complete the development and rollout of our CRM, Salesforce, to 17 countries, and be able to measure and develop our church engagement, based on accurate in-year data. That has set a platform for building sustainability in our 29 national offices, as they can accurately tell the story of how Jesus is transforming lives in words, numbers and pictures.  

We so appreciate your ongoing support and interest. 


Our motto of 2021 was that if we were to survive and thrive, we would need to be Closer to God, Closer to the church, and Closer to each other. 

Closer to God

With online connectedness we could learn quickly between our offices, but we also came together to pray. Before the pandemic we met every 2 years, now as a region we made it a priority to meet each week, engaging with Cardinals, apostles, pastors and ministry leaders from Ireland to Kuwait to listen and pray. 

Key guests were: Archbishop Gintaras Grušas from Vilnius Lithuania, Bishop Mats-Ola Ishoel from Moscow, Carla Harding from 24-7 Prayer UK, Maxi Oettingen from Loretto Austria, and Sister Debra from LCC Kuwait, along with so many more inspiring and encouraging leaders. 

Closer to the Church

Alpha Ireland 

We have seen many great examples of our NAOs working more closely and effectively with churches, serving and supporting them during a challenging season.

At the start of 2021, Alpha Ireland launched a monthly training initiative with 7 Roman Catholic Dioceses alongside Divine Renovation Ministries. They worked directly with the leadership of a new diocese of 250,000 Catholics, who were looking to establish Alpha in parish and school settings. They had Alpha running in 25 Catholic schools throughout the year, despite restrictions due to the pandemic, and 7 of those schools were entirely new to Alpha Youth. 

Gerard Hanley, who works for the Archdiocese of Dublin, said, “It was a joy to facilitate Alpha in Belvedere College. Alpha is a great tool for creating a healthy space for respectful conversation about life and faith.” 

Strategic Church Relationship Builders 

Having received a generous donor gift in 2020, we were able to work with NAOs in 2021 to hire Strategic Church Relationship Builders in Sweden, Austria, Portugal, Norway, Italy, France and Germany. These 7 pastors, priests and senior leaders have been brought into NAO teams to build relationships and work to develop ‘Hub churches’, who will inspire and support other churches in their network, context or sphere of influence to run Alpha.

We have already seen the significant impact of an NAO having a dedicated team member to build relationships with strategic churches. Revd Marie-Louise Nilsson was the first SCRB to be hired, and joined Alpha Sweden when there were not yet any Hub churches. By the end of 2021, Sweden had 7 Hub churches, who will go on to extend and support Alpha across the country. We are hugely excited to see the impact of these hires, and others, in 2022 and beyond! 

The Church Engagement Framework (CEF) helps us as an organisation to focus on developing strategies to practically engage with churches.  It can be applied in digital, in-person, and hybrid contexts.

The CEF describes the 3-phase journey that churches are likely to take as they:

  1. Explore Alpha – hear about Alpha for the first time, begin investigating what it is, and actively consider running a course

  2. Experience Alpha – receive training to run Alpha for the first time, progress to running it regularly, and, in time, to increasing the quantity and quality of the courses they run

  3. Extend Alpha – start to influence, invite, train and encourage other churches to consider running Alpha.  Some churches will become ‘Hub churches’, intentionally partnering with us to extend Alpha in their local area, sphere of influence or context.

Closer to each other


In mid-November we came together online for our EMENA Leaders Gathering. 150 staff and board members from Dublin to Dubai met to be encouraged by inspirational speakers and look forward to the year ahead. We explored the theme Time to Rebuild, thinking about what makes Alpha unique and how we bring people together in unity, prayer and releasing leaders. We also considered how we can communicate with the church in this season of rebuilding, and heard from our Alpha pioneer, Nicky Gumbel, with his Great Commission vision for Alpha to be accessible to all nations. We were delighted that Fr James Mallon, Divine Renovation founder, also joined us to share about the culture of Alpha. Many other fantastic leaders from across the region shared their vision, wisdom and stories with us. With time in small groups, networking over lunch and a hugely entertaining evening quiz, it was a joy to meet together online for a day of regional collaboration and unity. 

Regional Retreats 

As the pandemic receded, two in-person regional retreats were able to take place in the third and fourth quarters of the year. These provided an opportunity to reflect, look ahead to the next season, and plan how connected countries can share learnings and work together. Our three German-speaking NAOs (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) gathered for a few days in the Swiss mountains. The four Scandinavian country teams also met in Denmark, focusing mainly on building stronger relationships in the Lutheran Church. We are hugely encouraged by the growing collaboration between NAOs that we are seeing across the region and are looking to develop this further in 2022. 

In 2021 we had the privilege of being closer in these challenging times. 

Our Strategy

As the Covid-19 pandemic continued into 2021, we identified four key priorities for building towards an online future: Visibility, Availability, Measurability, and Sustainability. 

1 – Visibility

Increasing Alpha online awareness through digital marketing campaigns and storytelling.

2 – Availability

Delivering high-quality online training webinars and collaborative initiatives, to make Alpha online accessible to everyone.

3 – Measurability

Ensuring we have access to accurate data and reporting on quarterly impact and progress to our boards, donors and Alpha International.

4 – Sustainability

Investing in fund development capabilities, building towards a sustainable economy in our NAOs in the new digital economy, with less income from physical sales and training. 

In the first 6 months of the year, we made significant progress with Availability and Sustainability. NAOs trained and engaged churches through online events and webinars, and we rolled out quarterly reporting to 11 NAOs. 

After the summer, we increased our focus on Sustainability, hosting a Fund Development forum and fundraising webinars, facilitating coaching support, and running a Fund Development training and coaching programme in collaboration with Operation Mobilisation. We have been hugely blessed by our partnership with the Global Fund Development team, and are grateful for their support in working to further build capacity in the region. Our focus on Visibility throughout the year allowed us to work closely with our offices and plan our digital content approach. By the third quarter, we launched Project Lighthouse to accelerate Visibility by increasing our capacity to tell the story of Alpha through media and film. 


Increasing Alpha online awareness through digital marketing campaigns and storytelling.

Explore Conferences in the Gulf Region 

During the first half of 2021, Alpha GCC organised several local Alpha online conferences in the United Arab Emirates, Big Land, Kuwait and Oman to share more about Alpha and The Marriage Course. Going online also enabled us to hold well-attended events in otherwise closed countries in the Middle East.  

Over 100 church and ministry leaders attending those online gatherings had the privilege to listen to Nicky Gumbel and Nicky and Sila Lee, pioneers of Alpha and The Marriage Course respectively. Other church leaders from the region shared their experiences of Alpha during the year. It was a great opportunity to promote collaboration in 2021.

Alpha Youth Network 

As we look to equip the Church in the younger generation in EMENA, the Alpha Youth Network has been an encouraging innovation. The network gathers Alpha Youth co-ordinators and young leaders from across the region for evenings of inspiration and prayer. Guests have so far included: Alpha pioneer Nicky Gumbel and Ben Woodman, one of the hosts of the Alpha Youth Series, who shared their heart for the next generation and prayed for the young leaders; Andreas “Boppi” Boppart, leader of Campus für Christus in Switzerland, Germany and Austria; and Dot Tyler from We Are Tearfund, who shared the results of the research from their project “Burning down the House”, which is about Christian engagement with the environment.

The vision behind the network is to gather young people around Alpha and key current issues, empowering them to reach the next generation in their churches and communities through Alpha. 

Project Lighthouse

Alpha has always thrived when we tell our story well. Personal stories of redemption and transformation are a powerful way of sharing how God is changing lives. We also want to spread the word about what He is doing through Alpha in our churches, to encourage church leaders across the region! 

The aim of Project Lighthouse is to help our NAOs tell their stories through a series of video testimonies that highlight God’s work in EMENA. Some of these stories can be found below. 



Delivering high-quality online training webinars and collaborative initiatives, to make Alpha online accessible to everyone.

Refugees in Canada  

Alpha online continues to provide new opportunities to share the gospel with those outside of the Church. Nabil Shehadi, our Alpha Levant Co-ordinator, worked closely with a strategic church in Beirut, which serves the Lebanese community and Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

One refugee from the Kurdish Refugee community in North Syria was trained and equipped to lead Alpha during his time in Beirut. Now in Canada, he has started his own ministry among refugees. He has had to be imaginative in connecting with guests who live on only $1 a day. Working with a team underground, he provided mobile routers to give them access to Wi-Fi in their homes. These routers are controlled remotely, and operators can monitor them, for the safety of the guests. He began Alpha with 14 guests in May, all from Muslim backgrounds. Many of them were on a journey and had lots of questions, but Alpha online has made it possible for them to hear the gospel. 

Training Events and Initiatives 

Alpha Online Together in Italy

‘The leaders and helpers have the possibility to be trained by us and accompanied by us week by week. They feel accompanied so they can learn and understand better. There are Catholic priests, Evangelical pastors, couples, young and less young leaders. I think this is the best long term result we achieved: the relationship and trust created with these new churches.’

Alessandro Sona

Alpha Italy National Director


Ensuring we have access to accurate data and reporting on quarterly impact and progress.


We introduced Salesforce in the region 2019 and have been working hard to train our NAOs to make the most of the software and its features. As a CRM tool, Salesforce helps facilitate crucial relationship-building with churches, and allows us to record and track data. Following the work done behind the scenes on Salesforce and its integration with MyAlpha in previous years, we made it a priority in 2021 to establish a process ensuring we have access to accurate data at any time. We want to be able to report quarterly on impact and progress to our boards, donors and Alpha International. By ensuring that impactful testimonies are backed up by accurate data, we can tell the story of Alpha and the amazing work that God is doing! 


Investing in fund development capabilities, building towards a sustainable economy in our NAOs in the new digital economy, with less income from physical sales and training.

Along with the Alpha International Fund Development Global Team, we hosted several initiatives in 2021:

Fundraising Strategy Planning Consultant Support 

A few countries joined a consultant and expert in Fund Development to learn how they could start developing their Fund Development strategies in country. 

OM Fund Development Catalyst Coaching Programme 

Starting in April 2021, we began delivering sessions to equip NAOs with the best practises for Fund Development as an integral part of their national strategy, covering a wide variety of key topics.

Quarterly Fund Development Forum 

We also gathered several countries in an exciting forum with the goal of learning about Fund Development and exchanging ideas across the region. Every meeting was hosted by one NAO, who presented their Fund Development plans and strategies with the others. In 2021, the NAOs involved were the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Poland and Germany, along with the UK.

Fund Development Workshops

In 2021, we hosted 2 workshops on Fund Development. We looked at Donor Communications in September and Donor Relationships in October. These workshops were open to any Alpha office and region, with speakers from Alpha International’s Fundraising team to EMENA representatives who are experts in their Fund Development activities. 

Product Translation

With over 30 languages across the region, we continue to work on translating our products and materials to new languages every day.  

Core Products

Several core-product translation projects were completed and launched by NAOs in 2021. Meanwhile, the regional Translation and Contextualisation Unit (TCU) managed the translation of MENA languages where there was no NAO presence. Practically, this included locating project files, finding reliable proof-readers, and ensuring that the final product is of high quality to achieve great impact when released and used to run Alpha courses worldwide. 

Non-core Products

In the first half of 2021 we translated and released automated emails to facilitate the customer journey on MyAlpha, and Alpha Online promotional and training videos. 

The second half of 2021 then saw the TCU support the translation of content for a new alpha.org template, into several languages. Alpha.org is crucial in helping individuals and churches find out what Alpha is, where it’s running and how they can host it themselves. The re-designed site, which we are now able to offer for free, is a far easier and cleaner user experience. It smoothly guides the course administrator towards running a successful alpha on MyAlpha, enabling more Alpha courses to be run across the region. We are looking forward to expanding the number of sites next year and will continue to support the translation process for these. So far, we have translated the website into Hungarian, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Latvian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Swedish and Norwegian. 

2021 Budget

High-level approved budget and spend for AI regional team.

I’ve seen [Alpha] work here in my diocese, and that was when I knew it works… it is one of the effective tools that God has put into our hands to spread the faith. I very much enjoy the fact that people who finished the Alpha course are then brought into the community of the parish or some other movement in the Church to take an active role which they didn’t have before.’ 

Archbishop Gintaras Grusas

Archbishop of Vilnius