Alpha has been running for over 30 years and over 27 million people have done Alpha all over the world. There have been churches of every denomination facilitating Alpha over this time and as a result there have been a lot of things we have learned.
We have discovered what makes a great Alpha, such as planning well ahead, selecting the right team and training your team every time you run Alpha.
We have also discovered some common mistakes that have been made which contribute to Alpha not working as well as it could. As part of the Easter Invitation, we want to help you plan the best possible Alpha.
Here are the 5 common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them
1) Trying to do it on your own. There is a lot to consider when running Alpha and it can be overwhelming to handle it by yourself. Alpha works best with a dynamic team. Invite a variety of people to join your team and match their personal talents and skills with a role that suits them best (administrator, task force, small group hosts & helpers, set up, cooks, prayer team, etc.).
2) Not promoting Alpha and inviting people to Alpha. It can be really easy to be so caught up in planning Alpha that you forget to tell others about it. Spread the word, build excitement about your Alpha and equip your church community to invite. You need to make sure there are announcements about Alpha during church services but don't solely rely on these announcements. Talk often about how to invite a friend such as what to say, how to answer their questions. One on one, personally share your experiences about inviting and have your church leaders and Alpha team do the same. Work with your team to find creative ways to invite others. Personal invitations from a friend are always the best.
3) Not training your Alpha team. It is impossible to predict the diverse situations and conversations your team may come across during Alpha, but going through the Alpha training videos will be a huge help. Alternatively you can join a training session facilitated by Alpha Australia (in capital cities or online). Whichever you do, training is essential because it creates a space for your team to discuss best practices and do's/don'ts in areas like small group discussion, pastoral care and prayer. It's also a great time for team bonding and to build unity. Make sure that it is lots of fun and interactive so your team enjoy it and are happy to come to training.
4) Skipping the weekend/day away on the Holy Spirit. A typical Alpha evening averages around two hours, whereas a whole weekend or day can be just enough time for guests to let their guard down a little and start to build genuine relationships. Skipping this can also make it more difficult to digest four of the Alpha talks that are generally covered during this time, including topics like "How Can I Be Filled With the Holy Spirit?". It can be tough to get guests to commit to a whole weekend away due to busyness, etc., but if you promote it early and build excitement around it, guests will be more willing to attend.
5) Not developing a great atmosphere in your venue during Alpha. Alpha should feel welcoming, fun and relaxed. Even details like background music, warm lighting and decor can go a long way and make guests feel at ease. If the atmosphere feels "off" to you such as stark or bland, then guests might feel less open and more nervous. Each Alpha is unique and innovation is always encouraged when it comes to using your space well. If you have someone in your church that is good at decorating a space, take a chance and get their input; experiment with things like décor, food, presentation and activities.
Remember to register your Alpha here
once you have set your dates for Term 2
Your Alpha will then appear on our
" Alpha Finder" map so potential
guests can find it using their postcode.
We are here to help!
If you have any questions about facilitating Alpha we are here to help. Don't hesitate to contact us and we will do what we can to support you.
There are free resources on our website dedicated to assist you in running and promoting your Alpha. You will find it in the 'Run' section of our website and can be accessed by creating and using your login here
You can also join our free Facebook page for Alpha leaders where you can ask other leaders your questions ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/runalpha/).