The Celebration Supper
The Alpha Celebration Supper is a festive event with a dual purpose: to celebrate the completion of an Alpha course and kick-off a new course. The initial Celebration Supper generally occurs 1-2 weeks prior to the first Alpha course. After that, it is held at the end of each course. The longest time gap between Celebration Supper and course kick-off is generally between the end of a spring course (June) and the beginning of a fall course (September). To bridge this gap, some groups hold a second Celebration Supper 1-2 weeks before their fall course.
The Celebration Supper is a relaxed evening of food, music, mingling and an explanation of the Alpha course. To help make guests feel at ease, we recommend creating a non-church feeling environment by:
• Billing the evening as a festive “Dinner and a Movie” type event.
• Playing instrumental or jazz, rather than worship music.
• Decorating without using overt Christian symbols.
• Coaching the Leaders and Helpers to steer away from conversations about their church involvement.
• Showing the short “Mr. Bean Goes to Church” video by British comedian Rowan Atkinson to help people laugh about all the amusing things we associate with church. If you use this video, be sure to explain to guests that Mr. Bean is not Nicky Gumbel (a common misconception!). Click here to find The Best Bits of Mr. Bean DVD on Amazon.com.
The only religious talk at a Celebration Supper is the Alpha presentation: "Is There More to Life Than This" This talk is specifically designed for the Celebration Supper because it acknowledges and explores people’s basic questions concerning Christianity. It doesn’t push guests to accept Christianity, but prompts them to investigate it further through the Alpha course.
Most Celebration Suppers also include short testimonies from 2-3 former Alpha participants. These testimonies are usually structured in a question-and-answer format. The course director invites each person to come forward and proceeds to ask him or her two or three questions relating to his or her Alpha experience. In order to keep participants from overly preparing their testimonies, the course Director usually does not invite them to share until just before guests start to arrive.
Here is a sample Celebration Supper Agenda.