Today we are focusing on Healing House’s Alpha program. Healing House is a group of faith-based homes in Kansas City focused on providing a safe and stable environment for men and women dealing with their addiction problems. Alpha is a course offered at Resurrection that focuses on the basics of the Christian faith and the bigger questions dealing with the meaning of life. God has worked through Resurrection member and Healing House Alpha leader Tom Langhofer to combine the two with remarkable results.
Talk about how you got involved in Healing House Alpha?
Tom: Three years ago I went down to Healing House with the band that played at our Late Night Men’s groups called Cross Fire. I am a recovering alcoholic and our band leader, Brian Hague, had been trying to get me to go to Healing House. I had previously done a testimony at the church about my recovery through Christ. I didn’t know Healing House was a homeless recovery program for alcoholics and addicts.
I went down there with our band on a Wednesday night to help set up before the band played. About 100 people live there. They were eating dinner in a buffet arrangement, so I sat down with a couple of the people and shared a little bit of my story. I hit it off with them.
Ed Schulteis is a Resurrection member and he is very involved in Healing House. We began to talk and I told him that I came down here to help set up the band and he said, “No, you are here to set up Alpha at Healing House.” I responded with, “Okay, Ed. Whatever,” which was said jokingly to Ed because at first I thought he was kidding. I quickly realized he was absolutely serious. Before that, I had been reaching out to God and praying, “I recovered through your help. I owe everything to you. My recovery from alcoholism is 100% because of you. Let’s not let that go to waste. Use me for what you want.”
At the time, I was interviewing with some organizations around town that are involved with recovery programs. Then, the band started playing and I had the Holy Spirit blast me. I thought, “Ed is right.” I get goose bumps to this day thinking about it.
After we were done, I went to Bobbi Jo, the director of Healing House. She didn’t know what Alpha was. That was October 13, 2010. By January 6, 2011, we had our first Alpha class at Healing House with 16 small group leaders from Resurrection. We have been doing it every Friday night since. They call me Alpha Tom. It will be three years in October. We have had 10 Alpha sessions so far at Healing House. Our average attendance is around 80 people and we have had over 750 people from Healing House go through the program or at least part of the program. So, do I believe in Alpha? If that doesn’t answer your question, I don’t know what does.
What was your first time leading Alpha like?
Tom: It was scary at first. Everybody who lives there is homeless or an alcoholic. It’s the real deal. I was out of my comfort zone. But I had this peace about me because I felt like I was doing what I was meant to do. Before we started, I went out in front of all of them and told them my story. I said that while we may all have our own differences, what we do share is alcoholism. I am here to tell you my recovery is through Jesus Christ and that’s my message and Alpha is a great way to be introduced to Jesus Christ. This wasn’t me doing this. This was God doing this because if you had told me four years ago that I would be doing inner-city recovery work, it was the furthest thing from my mind.
Talk about some instances where you have watched people change through this program?
Tom: There have been 100 different occasions of watching people change – not because of me, but because the Holy Spirit came into their lives. I have been a witness to guys who would have been sentenced to jail terms, and they walked out of there with probation. I have seen moms with their babies baptized who probably would not have been able to if they hadn’t been with the leaders of Resurrection’s Alpha program. This Friday night, we are baptizing more than 40 people from our program.
Is the Alpha schedule different at the Healing House than what is offered on the Leawood Campus?
Tom: We follow the Leawood schedule because we follow the Holy Spirit retreat. When the Alpha schedule is done, we continue with other programs. We just finished a six-week session on fear. We have done Journey 101 and some outside studies in between the Alpha program. We do Alpha three to four times a year. We meet every Friday night. Alpha is the core start of that program. Recovery is a 24-hour, 7 days a week deal. We felt like we couldn’t stop Alpha and just say “see you later.” It doesn’t work that way. I think in three years I have missed three or four Fridays. Most of the 16 small group leaders are still there, too. We have some powerful leaders.
To learn more about Healing House, go to their website at healinghousekc.org.