“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens,
you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
When we meet together in our church buildings, God is present. When we meet together at parks and in cafés, God is there. When we meet together in prisons, schools, hospitals, in our homes–whether in small groups or behind a screen–he is there, too.
Our current cultural moment finds many of us without connection and community.
Some may even wonder if God is there and if he cares. Like the shepherd in the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus is still seeking out those far from him. He longs to be with them, to comfort them, and draw them near. He invites us to seek them out, too.
The events of 2020 have offered ample opportunities for Christ followers to be intentional and creative in how we connect and seek each other out. The good news is, we are not without options!
You don’t have to be limited to meeting only in person in a large group or solely online to open opportunities for conversations about faith, life, and meaning. As the pandemic allows for states to open up incrementally, the options open up, too.
Here are three new ways churches are creatively offering Alpha to their communities this fall:
Hybrid Meetings: These meetings would allow for online and in-person, smaller group gatherings. The session would be hosted online via a platform like Zoom, but would allow for those who want to meet in person to have a meal together, connect with the larger group online, and then hold the discussion in person. Those who cannot make the smaller in-person gatherings would be able to connect with a smaller group online and still have the small group discussion experience.
Watch Parties: Similar to the hybrid model, this allows smaller groups to meet, but the larger group would be connected via an online platform for announcements, guidance from the emcee’s, and to watch the video together, allowing the larger group to be aligned with the bigger picture. This allows for the Alpha meal to happen in small group settings, a connection with the larger group, and an in-person discussion about the evening’s talk.
Micro-Alpha Gatherings: If small groups can gather in person, some churches are running multiple Alphas during the same timeframe completely independent of other groups. These gatherings can then adjust to state mandated limitations on gathering numbers allowing a few people meet in a home, or even outside, offering an opportunity for in-person connection while still minimizing risks.
Early in the pandemic, members of First Sebring Church (Methodist) in Sebring, FL wanted to connect with members of their community while their church building was shut down. They took their coffee wagon and parked it on a vacant lot in the downtown area and began serving coffee building relationships with their neighbors and local businesspeople. Conversations started with some about the big questions in life and the Alpha Course. They ended up offering Alpha in a nearby barber shop. Ultimately more than 20 men attended this Alpha. At the same time, there was an Alpha launched for women at the church’s café, with six women attending regularly.
Your Alpha doesn’t need to look exactly the same as the one down the street. The beauty of this moment is that there is freedom to shape and adjust your Alpha to fit the needs of your particular community.
And we’ll help!
Thanks to our generous donors, Alpha is available to you at no cost–and so are our digital resources including extensive training, promotional materials, discussion guides and more. Everything is provided ready for use, “right out of the box” so to speak, and entirely free of charge.
We believe everyone should have the chance to explore a personal relationship with Jesus, wherever they are in the world, for free. Money should not be a barrier keeping people from experiencing the love of Jesus. We’re here to support you and help you along the way.
You can start by registering your course in MyAlpha.
Once there, you can add your team members and get access to all of our free resources, trainings, and promotional materials. And remember if you have any questions, or you just want to share about your experience, we’re here for you. Reach out to us anytime.
This is the final post in a series of six posts sharing the journey of moving Alpha online, and the discoveries we’ve found along the way as we’ve come alongside the Church to serve and equip leaders in this unique cultural moment. See previous posts by clicking on the title below:
Interested in learning about how you can run Alpha online this fall? Find all the resources you need here. Whether you run online or in person this fall, be sure to register your course to get the latest resources to support your Alpha.