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.