Alpha Online

Alpha is a free, easy to use tool to help engage people in your community with the Gospel. It creates a space for people to connect with others online to watch a series of episodes and explore the Christian faith together.

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.

The three ingredients of Alpha

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

Alpha is available to host as an 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 new 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 develops long-term disciples and leaders in your church
  • 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 health practices, we also want all our Alpha Courses run online to be safe places where church communities 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

If you are running Alpha online, 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

If churches are not able to physically run an Alpha course, we recommend moving Alpha online! We firmly believe that as churches innovate God can reach an even more people.

1. Find an Online Solution

There are many great solutions online that will allow churches to play a video and have a 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 able to meet in smaller groups, consider having an in-person day or weekend away. Churches have found that by this point, guests really wanted to meet in person and were very open to a non-digital format.

If doing an online weekend away, we recommend:

1. Watch all three 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.

4. Prayer Ministry

We recommend each host feels out their group 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. Prep your hosts so they can expect this.

Ensure Quality Discussion

Ask all guests to be on video
Ask all guests 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.