Interview: Director of Alpha Sierra Leone, Joseph Williams
How did you personally get involved in Alpha?
I’d had years of experience pioneering and directing country-wide evangelistic
movements and Bible Training Centres with many
different organisations, so I thought I’d seen it
all. I was widely regarded as a conference speaker, ministering every other
week to pastors and workers across the country, so I felt I knew everything
about evangelism and discipleship. In 2004, whilst in my former role as Field
and Programme Coordinator of the Diakonia
Interdenominational Services for Counselling,
Evangelism and Teaching (DISCET) in Sierra Leone, the Director invited me to
join him at an Alpha conference in Lusaka, Zambia.
The simplicity of the Alpha talks and the biblical theological
concept embedded in the Alpha style of evangelism affected my views
significantly. I personally made a commitment to God in Lusaka that he could
depend on me to take Alpha to Sierra Leone and beyond since I was the only
delegate from West Africa. I caught the Alpha vision, and my passion to reach
my people was rekindled afresh.
I was invited to serve as National Director for Alpha in Sierra
Leone in September 2007 after the first national Alpha Conference was
facilitated by a team from Alpha International. I knew God was holding me to
the statement I’d made in Lusaka when the team from U.K. said ‘we are here to
launch the new Alpha office, and we want Francis to head up this office’. I’ve
learnt not to make casual promises to God because He will hold you to your
commitment! The official operation of the National Alpha Office in Sierra Leone
started in January 2008.
What is the story with Alpha in Sierra Leone so far?
Alpha in Sierra Leone is spreading faster than we could have imagined. The
influence of Alpha is becoming so visible that substantial, life
transformational testimonies can be heard wherever Alpha has been run. Alpha is
being adopted by different denominations, including Anglicans, Methodists,
Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Independent Churches. It is being incorporated
into the military, prisons, and universities and is spreading to towns and
villages in remote rural areas. As the result of transformation in the Muslim
community of Joe Town, they donated 4.5 acres of land to Alpha Sierra Leone.
The Alpha course is also being presented live on a Christian Radio show every
week, which reaches over half a million listeners in Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Alpha Sierra Leone is also supporting Alpha courses in Liberia, The Gambia,
Senegal and the Ughelli Diocese in Nigeria with
training and coaching.
What is the most exciting thing you see God doing through Alpha
in Sierra Leone?
Alpha is playing a vital role in bringing para-church
institutions together with the aim of partnering to evangelize and transform
the entire Sierra Leone within the next nine years. One of Alpha’s most
exciting developments is a partnership with World Vision to ensure that all
their staff attend Alpha in the Workplace and the God
at Work Course.
What are the challenges and how can we pray for you?
Our main need is for funding – to cover office costs and take Alpha to more
prisons, universities and villages. Alpha Sierra Leone is also seeking funding
to develop the 4.5 acres of land into a small retreat and conference centre,
which would generate further income for our work.