So you're thinking of running Alpha at home?
Nervous or don’t know where to start?
Maybe you feel like you don't know how to lead?
Well this guide has been made for you.
Running Alpha in your home is an amazing opportunity to invite your friends, crete community and journey together in an informal and fun way. But best of all... it's much easier than you think!
You may have previously seen Alpha ran in churches and feel unsure where to start when it comes to this setting. This guide will take you through all you need to think of and prepare for step by step to ensure you and your guests have a successful Alpha experience.
Whatever the context, it's all starts with the Alpha recipe:
• The talk
As students, you are in an incredible position in which you are living with, studying with, and socialising with mostly the same people all day everyday. It's a unique time in your life where you're living in community with people of all different beliefs and backgrounds. We think that this puts you in the perfect position to run Alpha as part of your everyday life and see great results.
So let's get started and take a closer look at the recipe …
Everyone loves good food, and it is the perfect way to create a comfortable atmosphere to make your guests feel at home.
If you like to think you’re the next Nigella, then cook up a storm and impress your guests. If not, then there is noting wrong with a takeaway pizza!
As well as food, think about your house as a venue. Arrange the room in a way that is welcoming, practical and informal. Arranging the seats in a circle is often the best way because it means everyone can see each other and nobody is left out.
Helpful tip: We understand that as a student your resources may be limited and the idea of providing food for 5 or more people each week is a little daunting. Be encouraged, the main focus is on an atmosphere of hospitality, not an expensive meal! Check out these cheap eats for inspiration of 'meals on a budget'.
Even if we say so ourselves, we think the Alpha Film Series is a great resource that helps make things as easy as possible for you, the host. Simply register your course, download the talks in advance, familiarize yourself with the content and press play! You don't need to be a great preacher and you don't need to know all the answers you just need to facilitate the conversation.
In terms of course episodes, Alpha usually takes 12 weeks but we understand that your terms are short and time is limited. Because of this we've created a University schedule to help it fit within your term. Check it out!
Helpful tip: When leading Alpha don't switch off during the talk or let your mind wonder away. Make sure you pay attention and as you are watching start anticipating some of questions that may come up at the end.
This is often the hardest and most daunting part for students. It is the time for your guests to give their opinions, to start asking questions, and for you to lead. Fight those feelings of inadequacy and remember that you are more than capable of facilitating your friends journey to faith.
This may have been the section where you were used to letting your student leader or pastor take control. Don't default to that and feel overwhelmed, just remember, its simply a conversation. You are not there to answer all of the guest’s questions, you are simply there to explore their questions with them. Remember our key question 'what does everybody else think?'!
Helpful tip: remember that these are your friends. Yes, you are the group leader and organiser, but more importantly, you are still these people’s friend. Our best advice to you would be to be the best friend you can throughout and don’t suddenly let it become teacher/student situation. Create an informal, relaxed environment and don't forget to have fun!
Where else could Alpha be run?
As well as running Alpha in your living room there are so many other places the Alpha Film Series can be watched! It's easy to bring it into any part of your day to day life.
Say you are part of a football team, why not meet up after the game each week and do Alpha?
If you are part of a film society, what about watching an episode of the Alpha Film Series before a movie ?
Run Alpha where you already are, use your everyday lives, and tie Alpha into that - that way it will be much more natural and genuine to journey with your friends.
Helpful tip: Check out our blog for examples of peoples running Alpha in a variety of places and spaces!
All of the above is so important to running Alpha well, but we still remain utterly reliant on the Holy Spirit to bring our friends to faith. We encourage you to make prayer a priority in this process and ask God to be in everything you do. Throughout the whole process, we encourage you to identify some rhythms of prayer.
• Pray for yourself
• Pray for your guests
• Make your leaders aware of your Alpha and ask them to cover you in prayer as well
For more information on prayer and the Alpha recipe in general head on over to our training now.