Run Alpha Online

Alpha is a multi-week course, online or in person, that creates a space where people come and explore life, faith & meaning

Engage with people who wouldn’t usually come to church – online.

Alpha is a series of interactive sessions that explore the basics of the Christian faith. Last year, approximately 30,000 churches and organisations ran Alpha with over 1.3 million participants.

What does an Alpha Online session look like?

Connect

Alpha is an opportunity to explore life’s big questions together in an open, informal environment.

Watch

The episodes unpack the basics of the Christian faith, addressing questions such as Who is Jesus?, How can we have faith? and How does God guide us?

Discuss

Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to spark conversation which will be guided by hosts and helpers from your church.

The Online Experience

Churches who have run Alpha online have seen significant impact on the guests and leaders who took part.

“We were blown away with the consistent attendance and immediate transparency in the breakout rooms (small groups). From that single, last-minute online course, six people chose to be baptised. God is moving; even online!” – Westminster Chapel, USA

  • Alpha online opens the door to people who would never have come on Alpha otherwise
  • Guests are more likely to come back consistently each session
  • Alpha online engages and mobilises young people in an even greater capacity
  • Alpha online can be mobilised quickly with minimal resources

Stories From Around the World


Alpha Online Training

Alpha Online specific training and resources are available on myAlpha.


Precautionary Measures

In addition to adhering to locally recommended practices, we also want all Alpha courses run online to be safe places where churches can host guests while exploring questions about life, faith and God in a welcoming, judgement-free and safe environment. Please see some of our recommendations:

Alpha is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure our ministry is Online/E-Safety aware and competent. Please see more information here.

E-safety & Security

Please take all the necessary steps to ensure you as the church or ministry are Online/E-Safety aware and competent.

Protection of Vulnerable Peoples

E-Safety is the collective term for safeguarding (protecting vulnerable individuals) involving the use of mobile phones, computers (including laptops, netbooks, tablets) and other electronic devices including games consoles, to communicate and access the internet, emails, text messages, instant messaging, social networking sites and other social media.

Maintain a Safe Environment

It is important all churches, administrators, hosts and helpers are diligent in keeping a safe online environment. For a full list of Do’s, Don’ts and more information on this topic, please click here.

Digital Solutions

We firmly believe that as churches innovate God can reach even more people.

1. Find an Online Solution

There are many solutions online that will allow churches to play a video and have  discussion time. Some services we recommend are Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype.

2. Decide on the Format

Option 1: Have all participants dial in to one web conference to watch the talk. After the talk is finished, break out into individual groups. This works best for groups sizes under 75.

Option 2: Provide the weekly video to all hosts and have each group join into their own web conference. We recommend using this model if the total number of Alpha participants is over 75.

3. Alpha Weekend Away

If doing an online time away, we recommend:

1. Watch all videos in one day

2. Include live or pre-recorded testimonies to create an authentic and personal environment

3. Make sure to add fun elements into the day! Surveys, games, humorous videos. The day should feel varied and not lag.

If able to meet in smaller groups, consider having an in-person time away. Churches have found that by this point guests really wanted to meet in person and were very open to a non-digital format.

4. Prayer Ministry

We recommend each host chooses an appropriate option when it comes to prayer ministry:

1. Break out into smaller groups and pray for each other

2. Breakout one-on-one and pray individually

3. Invite guests to request prayer from the group host via chat or email. The group host can then reach out individually to the guests to setup time for a quick prayer.


Top Tips

We reached out to churches already running Alpha online to get their tips.

Hospitality

Even though groups are meeting online, churches can still put a strong emphasis on hospitality.

Heavier Email Communication

Send weekly emails re-capping last week’s talk and ask guests to share their thoughts via email. Make sure to check-in if someone missed a night.

Session Engagement

Make sure the host is engaging right from the beginning of the session – saying hello to people, asking questions, telling jokes. Avoid the silent downtime to keep excitement and enthusiasm high.

Chat functionality

Encourage hosts, helpers and guests to utilise the chat functionality to comment and ask questions during the video as well as during discussion time when others are talking.

Host Preparation

Make sure the hosts have all videos, discussion questions and access to the platform the church has chosen. Churches have found that guests tend to get vulnerable more quickly online than in person. Prepare your hosts so they can expect this.

Ensure Quality Discussion

Ask all guests to be on video and to join in a quiet environment, if possible
Ask all guests to unmute during discussion. (Unless in a noisy setting). This allows for a more organic, free-flowing conversation.
Ask guests to not use green screen backgrounds to create a more natural environment.

Logistics

Internet Connection: If you are hosting Alpha Online, make sure you have a strong internet connection. If possible, plug directly into an ethernet cable.

Short and Sweet: Churches have found that in an online format, people start to lose interest at around the one-hour mark. We recommend keeping the full session under 1 hour 15 minutes.