Alpha Tips: After Alpha - what's next?
Alpha is an introduction to Jesus, but the process of growing as a believer needs to continue. What are some things that have worked for others?
Here are Ten Practical Ideas
1. Have a Reunion – before you end, plan a time for a BBQ, Christmas/New Year’s party.A good Alpha group ends saying, “I don’t care what we do, just as long as we do it together.” Tell the hosts/helpers to think in advance and have this already on their minds and schedules. The relationships are key and are big to help people make the next steps.
2. Go to church together – some have called it “Let’s do the pew” or “Share the chair”. Going to church can be a big hurdle. Offer to pick them up. Meet them in lobby. Sit together. Translate for them. Introduce them to others. The beauty of going to your church after Alpha, they often recognize or know others from Alpha.
3. Small Groups – many churches have an existing small group structure.
Talk to the small group host/helpers to see if they want to form a new small group and continue meeting (they already are comfortable). Enfold them into an existing small group (has to be open/welcoming to new people). Consider continuing to do a meal together as this is a familiar part of the norm.
4. Mid-Sized Groups (Pastorates) – open groups 25-35 people that gather bi-monthly.
This is what Holy Trinity Brompton has found to be most effective way to integrate people into the life of the church. Pastorates meet around a meal in a home, and have a time for worship and teaching followed by an open discussion in groups – similar format to Alpha. There is not the pressure of intimacy that often exists in a small group and it is easier to step in and not feel intimidated. Click here for more information on Pastorates
5. Individual – obviously won’t work for every person... not enough time to take 8-10 people to meet with them individually. But once in awhile this is the best way to meet and share with some guest. Meeting one on one (or one on two) to share, question, study and support each other. Keep the intention before you that they will in time continue to do this with another person in the future.
6. A “Beta” course – Can be similar format as Alpha, may run concurrent with next Alpha course. The Alpha Store has some great options for this:
• Life Worth Living – 9 session study in book of Philippians taught by Nicky
• Challenging Lifestyles – 3 Series of 6 sessions each on Jesus’ Sermon on Mount taught by Nicky
• The Jesus Lifestyle – a new resource from HTB with the best of Challenging Lifestyles
• Searching Issues – seven talks looking at issues raised on the Alpha course
• FaithTracks – A new series of theological training from St. Paul’s School of Theology at Holy Trinity Brompton.
• The Marriage Course – An 8 week series, set up as a date night for married couples
• Parenting Course – released next fall which will be a practical aid to families
• Lots of courses out there – Willow Creek, 40 Days of Purpose, Nooma, or develop your own
7. Get baptized – This may be the public step of identification that some of your guests need. Find a way in the baptism for people to share their story and invite others to the next Alpha course.
8. Service project – Plan service project in your community (Habitat, homeless soup kitchen, etc). One person used service projects as a way to get people interested in coming to Alpha.
9. Serve in Alpha – Alpha is a wonderful discipleship tool and key for leadership development. It is OK to have guests come back and serve as a helper on the next course even if they are still considering the claims of Christ.
Have past guests invite friends and family (often this is exactly what they want to do)
Many who come to Christ on Alpha move from being a helper to serving as a host and may begin to teach on Alpha or serve as the Alpha Administrator.
Other ways to serve include to help on one of the support teams – food, childcare, greeting, set-up/clean-up.
10. Alpha in another context – Taking the Alpha course into another context
Youth Alpha, Prison Alpha, Campus Alpha, Alpha in the Workplace, Alpha for Seniors, Alpha for Military or ESOL Alpha. Find out more here.
You can also work with your Regional Alpha team – being an Alpha Advisor.
These Tips were taken from an Alpha Practitioner Training Call on October 21, 2010 led by Kirk Petersen. Click here to read his full notes or listen to an audio version of the call.