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Giving everybody the opportunity to hear about Christ.

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Presentation on theme: "Giving everybody the opportunity to hear about Christ."— Presentation transcript:

1 Giving everybody the opportunity to hear about Christ

2 Overview Before You Start Resources Planning/Preparation Running the Course Results Nuts & Bolts of an Alpha Course

3 The Alpha Course is a fifteen session program which runs over ten weeks to provide a practical introduction to the Christian faith. It is designed to provide seekers, skeptics and new Christians a safe opportunity to explore the Christian faith as well as an environment to revitalize mature Christians. The desired atmosphere is that of guests at a dinner party. Typical evening includes dinner, brief musical worship, a talk, and discussion in small groups. Overview – What is Alpha ?

4 6:00 PM – TEAM MEETING Your team meets to pray and prepare while the meal, room setup, etc. are handled. 6:30 PM – DINNER A meal is served and the guests arrive. The small groups typically sit together. 7:10 PM – WELCOME A welcome from the leader (perhaps even a joke!) and any announcements are made. 7:15 PM – WORSHIP Optional for smaller courses, desirable for larger ones. 7:30 PM – TALK Either a live talk or video version. 8:15 PM – BREAK INTO SMALL GROUPS Discussion time 8:45/9:00 PM – END It helps to keep the ending time the same so that people know what time they can expect to get home. Overview - A Typical Evening

5 Before You Start Resources Planning/Preparation Nuts & Bolts of an Alpha Course

6 Prayer! Alpha Conferences Alpha USA/Houston Office Alpha Directors Handbook Materials Before You Start - Resources

7 Prayer for your Alpha Course is essential. View the prayer segment on the How to Run Alpha Video In the book The Church on its Knees, Jeremy Jennings, Pastoral Director at Holy Trinity Brompton, gives the theology behind corporate prayer and offers practical advice on how to get started. Before You Start - Resources Prayer

8 Churches that have attended an Alpha Conference prior to running the course have experienced a far higher degree of success and often considerable church growth. The conference looks at the principles and practicalities of running an Alpha course. It also looks at how to maximize the potential of an existing course, how to avoid burnout and how selecting and training your team can dramatically effect the success of your course. If you are unable to attend an Alpha Conference, it is available on video and audio tape, or you can find all the talks in the book Telling Others. Before You Start - Resources Attend an Alpha Conference

9 Network with other churches running Alpha Monthly Gatherings Seasonal Training Individual consulting and assistance Guidance from Alpha Advisors and Resource Churches Joint Weekend Away opportunities Before You Start - Resources Alpha USA/Houston Office

10 The Alpha Directors Handbook is a step-by-step guide to running the Alpha course. It provides: Advice on selecting your Alpha team Checklists for each week of the course Forms for recording and organizing information Advice on the use of resources Advice on organizing meals, promotion and celebration events Before You Start - Resources Read the Alpha Directors Handbook

11 All the materials you need to successfully run Alpha are available online at or by calling DO-ALPHA Key resources: Training material/manuals Talks on video Guest manuals and books Supplemental resources Course promotional material Additional reading for guests Before You Start - Resources Alpha Materials

12 Just Beginning complete start up kit Includes the complete Alpha Course Video Set, Alpha Leaders Training Video, Directors Handbook, Questions of Life – 7 copies, Alpha Course Leaders Guide – 3 copies, Alpha Course Manuals – 25 copies, Why Jesus? Booklets – 50 copies, Alpha Poster Pack – 1, Course Brochures – 2 packages of 50 each and the Searching Issues Book – 3 copies Before You Start - Resources Alpha Materials

13 THE TEAM Each Alpha course is made up of team members who either lead, or help in a group, or help in the task force which is responsible for carrying out all the jobs like setting up chairs, preparing and serving the food, etc. Once you have selected your Alpha course team, you will need to train them in running small groups, pastoral care and ministry. Over the years we have found that training the team is an essential part of every Alpha course and the success of a course is often dependent on it. The talks for these sessions can be found in The Alpha Leaders Training Video or Audio. Each team member will also need a copy of the Alpha Leaders Training Manual. The members of your team might also find it helpful to read Searching Issues by Nicky Gumbel. This book can often help provide some discussion points for the seven questions most often asked on Alpha, including the issues of suffering, sex before marriage and other religions. Before You Start – Planning/Preparation

14 DATES The course takes eleven weeks (including the celebration supper). In order to maintain momentum its desirable to run three courses a year, with a typical fall, winter, and spring cycle. VENUE The ideal venue is a home, if the course is small enough. Once it has outgrown a home a venue has to be found with a welcoming atmosphere. PROMOTE It is a good idea to have a brochure and other promotion materials. Most people come to an Alpha course because someone they know has invited them and the key is often the personal invitation. There are a number of resources available that can be given to friends or family to encourage them to attend an Alpha course and act as an introduction to the course. Other ways could be to distribute Alpha invitations in your area and display posters in the community. Before You Start – Planning/Preparation

15 Running the Course Nuts & Bolts of an Alpha Course

16 By the first session the team should be well prepared and ready to go. Guests arriving the first evening may feel nervous and awkward. Guests may look for excuses not to come again or to leave. So it is vital that the organization runs smoothly and everyone is welcoming but not pushy. It may help to have a welcoming team on the first few sessions. They are in charge of taking people to their small groups (these have already been assigned) and introducing them to their small group leaders. The leader can then take over and introduce everyone in the group to each other. It may help to give everyone name badges, especially if the course is quite large. Running the Course – First Night!

17 FOOD A Meal can be served at the start of the evening. This helps people to unwind and catch up on each others news. A charge can be made to cover the cost of the food. If you do not have a catering team then the small groups could take turns in preparing the meal. MATERIALS Each guest should receive a manual; typically this is given to them free of charge or on loan, unless you have advertised the course as having a cost for materials. BOOKSHOP With the bigger courses it may help to have books on sale. The leader may like to suggest reading Questions of Life during the course. Other books are listed at the end of each talk in the manual. ORGANIZING PEOPLE INTO SMALL GROUPS If you have details about the guests, then you can assign them to appropriate groups, paying particular attention to age range. If you have very few details, you can only pray for guidance – it usually works! Running the Course - Logistics

18 WORSHIP – Experience shows that when you have more than 30 people in your Alpha course you can consider introducing worship to your Alpha course. It is this element of the course that guests often find difficult at the beginning of the course but by the end they consider it the highlight. The Alpha Worship Pack has been designed to help you introduce worship sensitively and includes a cd/tape, songbook, manual and teaching tape. Running the Course - Logistics

19 THE TALK – Many of the existing Alpha courses choose to use the Alpha Video Set to run the course. Filmed at Holy Trinity Brompton, the set consists of the 15 talks which make up the Alpha course and are presented by Nicky Gumbel. However, if you would prefer to use a live speaker, the book Questions of Life by Nicky Gumbel provides the talks in written format. Running the Course - Logistics

20 6:00 PM – TEAM MEETING Your team meets to pray and prepare while the meal, room setup, etc. are handled. 6:30 PM – DINNER A meal is served and the guests arrive. The small groups typically sit together. 7:10 PM – WELCOME A welcome from the leader (perhaps even a joke!) and any announcements are made. 7:15 PM – WORSHIP Optional for smaller courses, desirable for larger ones. 7:30 PM – TALK Either a live talk or video version. 8:15 PM – BREAK INTO SMALL GROUPS Discussion time 8:45/9:00 PM – END It helps to keep the ending time the same so that people know what time they can expect to get home. Running the Course – Evening Schedule

21 Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant? Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus die? How can I be sure of my faith? How and why should I read the Bible? How and why should I pray? How does God guide us? Who is the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit do? How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit? How can I make the most of the life? How can I resist evil? Why and how should I tell others? Does God heal today? What about the Church? Running the Course - Content

22 The weekend is a crucial element of the course when the Holy Spirit is introduced. Sometimes the teaching can be incorporated into a single day, but the weekend is a good chance to cement friendships and take a break away. Time can also be found for counselling, prayer, worship and perhaps some form of entertainment. The weekend is normally held anytime after the fifth week of the course. The suggested program is: Friday 6:30PM Arrive 8:30PM Supper 9:45PM A short introduction Running the Course - The Weekend

23 Saturday 8:30AM Breakfast 9:30AM Worship and Talk 1 (Who is the Holy Spirit?) 10:45AM Coffee 11:15AM Talk 2 (What does the Holy Spirit do?) 12 NOON Small groups 1:00PM Lunch - Afternoon free 4:00PM Tea or refreshments 5:30PM Worship and Talk 3(How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?) 7:30PM Supper 9:00PM Revue/Entertainments Running the Course - The Weekend

24 Sunday 9:00AM Breakfast 9:45AM Small groups 10:30AM Holy Communion and Talk 4 (How can I make the most of the rest of my life?) 1:00PM Lunch 2:30PM Departure Running the Course - The Weekend

25 At the end of the course a dinner party is held to celebrate and to give people a chance to bring their friends and family along to find out what Alpha is all about. A dinner is provided and people tend to sit with their groups and introduce their guests. The leader gives a short after-dinner talk on why Jesus is relevant today. One or two people may be interviewed about their experiences of the course. People are then invited to join the next Alpha course. It can also be helpful to hand out the booklet Why Jesus? For them to take home. Running the Course - Celebration Supper

26 Everyone is asked to fill in a questionnaire with their comments to help you run the next course. Give people an opportunity to describe how their attitude to the Christian faith has changed since the course began. Some people from this Alpha course may be asked to help on the next course. People then invite their friends and family to the next Alpha – the dates of which are published early – and so it continues…! Running the Course – Wrap-up

27 Strong friendships are often forged in the small groups on an Alpha course and sometimes the groups are keen to keep meeting in a small group setting and study the Bible. There are many books and resources that can be used in this setting including A Life Worth Living which is based on the book of Philippians. Now available in video format, this nine- week course is aimed specifically for those who are just starting out in the Christian life and explains how it is possible to live the Christian life positively, practically, and joyfully. Running the Course - Follow-Up

28 Results Nuts & Bolts of an Alpha Course

29 A Transformed Church: St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church Of 970 Alpha Participants half of them were complete strangers to St. Barts Sunday Service attendance has risen from 250 to 1000 people 600 Participants have become further involved with St. Bart's 315 Participants became givers of record The annual pledge given has increased from $450K to $4M

30 Born in a prison A stripper, drug addict Served time in jail Ladies at local church introduced her to the Alpha Course A Changed Life: Veronica Her life was changed

31 A Changed Life: Whitney His life was changed Successful business-owner, President Married, 2 children Grew up attending church as a social duty Accompanied wife on Alpha course One night, prayed the acceptance prayer together

32 What Helped Transform Them? Belonging Before Believing! They were welcomed as they were They werent judged … they were loved They could say anything … they felt accepted They found new friends and were supported

33 My Life Was Forever Changed… I saw for the first time that it was possible to come to faith in Christ in an intelligent way, rather than through blind faith. I have discovered people like me, struggling in life but much more happy inside than me. I asked those questions that I had never dared ask before. I felt accepted whatever I said. New hope. New faith. New friends. New life.

34 Alpha Relies On God: This is the first time that the very same course is being used by every Christian church in pretty well every country in the world. That is an incredible achievement. Its very hard to think that it is other than a work of the Spirit, in which we should rejoice. -Bishop Ambrose Griffiths

35 How to Run Alpha Video Set Alpha Conference Audio Tapes (all tasks and seminars) Telling Others Just Curious Just Beginning complete start up kit Alpha Train Your Team Resources Directors Handbook Alpha Leaders Training Video or DVD Alpha Leaders Training Tape Alpha Course Leaders Guide Searching Issues The Church on its Knees 54064

36 Alpha Invitations (yellow) (pkg. of 100) (green) (pkg. of 50) Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant Video Why Christmas? Video Why Jesus? Why Christmas? The God Who Changes Lives Video (prison) The God Who Changes Lives Vol , Vol , Vol Questions of Life Alpha Poster Pack Alpha Promote Your Course Resources

37 Alpha Worship Pack CD Tape Alpha on DVD Alpha Video Set Questions of Life Alpha Course Manual Days Alpha Run the Course Resources Alpha Follow-Up Resources Alpha Starter Kit A Life Worth Living Book A Life Worth Living Video Set A Life Worth Living Leaders Guide A Life Worth Living Manual 54809


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