At its heart, Youth Alpha is a simple idea:

What if we create a space where people can come and have conversation about life, faith, and God in a way that is fun and authentic, a place where you can invite your friends from school or work to talk about life’s biggest questions to feel welcomed no matter what you believed and to get a glimpse of the Christian faith.

Question Topics @ Youth Alpha

  • Life: Is This It?
  • Jesus: Who is He?
  • Cross: Why Did Jesus Die?
  • Faith: How Can We Have Faith?
  • Prayer: Why and How Do I Pray?
  • Bible: Why and How Do I Read the Bible?
  • Spirit: Who Is the Holy Spirit and What Does He Do?
  • Fill: How Can I Be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
  • New Life: How Can I Make the Most of the Rest of My Life?
  • Evil: How Can I Resist Evil?
  • Healing: Does God Heal Today?
  • Telling Others: How and Why Do I Tell Others?
  • Church: What About the Church

Youth Alpha

  • Where: Hayward Wesleyan Church in the Main Street Theatre
  • When: Starts Wednesday, March 14, 2018 and goes every Wednesday through May 16, 2018 from 7:00-8:30pm
  • Who: Primarily for high school students

Weekly Schedule

  • 6:00pm Setup Team prepares the Theatre room
  • 6:45pm Food Team sets out food, Welcome Team in place to welcome people, Tech Team plays music appropriately in the background, Prayer Team prays with Hosts and Helpers
  • 7:00pm Youth Alpha starts, the MC Team welcomes people and directs them to the food (you don’t have to have people sit down in order to talk, just get everyone’s attention and tell them about the food)
  • 7:20pm Fun Team, in coordination with the MC Team and Tech Team, does the fun
  • 7:35pm MC Team introduces the topic of the night by sharing the Big Idea (found in the discussion guides)
  • 7:38pm Tech Team plays the video of the evening and pauses the video in the appropriate place (please allow 5-10 minutes for discussion time during the 3 pauses)
  • 8:30pm When the video concludes, MC Team thanks everyone for coming, shares what the question is for the following week, tells those groups that want to keep discussion going that they may do so, and then dismisses everyone else!
  • 8:32pm Teardown Team begins to reset the room (please grant grace to those groups who want to continue to their discussion, meaning don’t look at them with annoyance that you can’t put their chairs away until they are done 🙂
  • 8:45pm Debrief with Hosts and Helpers, and a representative from each team (and anyone else who wants to come) in Room 110.

(Start time and end time is firm, but all other times are approximate)

Food Team

  • Amber
  • Claire
  • Lydia
  • Seth
  • Gabe
  • Josh
  • Maggie
  • Gwen

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Alpha team. There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

Details

As you know, food is really important! People talk later about what they had to eat somewhere. For better or worse, people judge how good a place or an environment is based on the quality and the choice of food. Food is also something that attracts people to an event. If they know they are having something really fun (i.e. like a cereal bar or an ice cream bar) it cause students to want to come and participate, even if it is at a church 🙂

All to say, the food is a crucial element to a successful and fun Youth Alpha, and you all get to participate in making that happen! Thank you so much! Anything we can do to make the food awesome, let’s make it happen!!

Make sure that the food is set out by about 6:45pm. You can purchase food two ways:

  1. You can buy it with your own money, keep the receipt, turn the receipt in to Jeremy and he will reimburse you. The reimbursement process usually takes a week or two (depending on if Jeremy remembers to turn in the receipts each week 🙂
  2. You can borrow the church’s Walmart card and use it to purchase stuff at Walmart. This allows you to buy stuff without having to spend your own money. Hayward Wesleyan also has an account at MarketPlace, but it requires pre-authorization. If you want this, please talk with Jeremy and he will help you with it.

Fun Team

  • Jordyn
  • Whitley
  • Diana
  • Charlene

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Alpha team. There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

Details

It is difficult to underestimate how important having fun is, right? I mean, who likes to go to a boring party. All humans, both young and old, love to laugh and have fun! So this fun team gets to lead everyone at Youth Alpha is laughing and having fun.

Laughing together is one of the best ways to build a sense of community and friendship. It can lighten the mood, bridge over awkward dynamics, and allow people to relax and have a good time. Depending on your group’s age and context, you can start with a video clip, tell a joke, or do a short icebreaker game.

I recommend switching it up each week. One week can be an upfront game with selected volunteers from the group. Another week can be some funny videos. Another week can be an interactive game that involves everyone. And then start the cycle all over again with a new set of upfront games, funny videos, and group interactive games.

Make sure you are having fun while you are leading the fun. Use the MC Team and the Tech Team to help you. Please keep these others in the loop so they aren’t surprised… even use them in the fun if you can!

Setup/Teardown Team

  • Zach
  • Jonathan
  • Isaiah
  • Brayden
  • Pete

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Alpha team. There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

Details

The way you set up the room, including things like table setup (centerpieces, place settings), signage (welcome sign, menu, food labels) and even lights (candles, table and floor lamps) contribute to the overall guest experience. Try and be creative each week because these types of things make the Youth Alpha experience memorable and will help you shape your Youth Alpha to best fit the high school students we are trying to reach.

Please arrive between 6:00-6:15pm to setup. We will be in the Main Street Theatre. We need to setup tables and chairs, bring in lamps, setup the food area, and set the mood. We will make 8 small group sections that with between 6-8 chairs in each section. Everything needs to be setup and ready by 6:45pm at the latest. Any fun ideas to spice things up from week to week are welcome!

Please stick around at the end of Youth Alpha and help teardown. Tables and chairs need to be returned to their original places, the lamps need to be put away as well as the food table, and the room needs to be picked up from any trash that might be left. Feel free to ask others to kindly help if they want. Usually other people not on the setup and teardown team will love to help with the teardown portion 🙂

Discussion Hosts and Helpers

Hosts

  • Lydia
  • Abigail
  • Megan
  • Diana
  • Zoe
  • Daniel
  • Jonathan
  • Hunter
  • Hunter
  • Jeremy

Helpers

  • Isaiah
  • Nils

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Alpha team. There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

The Small Group Host keeps the conversation rolling and makes sure that guests feel safe to share openly. This role requires someone who is a good listener, encourager, and who is sensitive to the needs of others

Setting the Stage for Great Small Groups

Usually after the first Youth Alpha session, guests are assigned to a small group (by age or with friends). For the first Youth Alpha night, we will sort of let people sit where they want, but will encourage guys to be with guys and girls to be with girls. It is okay if different grades want to be in the same group. When the setup team arranges the room, they won’t put more that 6-8 chairs per section (small group). The goal is that the small group would stay together for the duration of the whole 10 weeks of Youth Alpha, go on the journey together, and hopefully become friends along the way. Ideally your groups would sit together, eat together, watch the Youth Alpha talk and discuss it right where you are. We use the terms ‘host’ and ‘helper’ because on Alpha it’s less about being a leader and more about helping facilitate a conversation. We want people to feel welcomed and included. The format is not teacher/student, but rather host/guest.

What do Hosts and Helpers do?

Simply put, hosts are the ones who facilitate the small group discussion (discussion guides are below). Helpers are there to help the host and the guests with anything that might make the group experience even better. Helpers mostly stay quiet. They listen and pray silently as the discussion is unfolding. Being a helper on Alpha is actually one of the best ways for people to step into a leadership role for the first time.

For the Alpha Youth Film Series: Small Group discussion is not only after the Alpha talks, but included throughout each episode. There are 3 pause prompts with questions for you to discuss with your small group. Take about 5-10 minutes and if you want more time to chat, there are additional questions in the Discussion Guide to go through afterwards.

Small group guidelines

  • You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to, but we’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.
  • Any question or comment is welcome (just be brief and respectful).
  • Respect each other by listening and allowing different opinions.
  • Keep things confidential when you leave this group.

Discussion Guides

The discussion guides will be provided for you each week, but it is a good idea to preview them ahead of time and prepare yourself with the questions the video will prompt and possibly some follow up questions you might think about as you get to know your group better.

MC Team

  • Hunter
  • Emily
  • Lisa

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Youth Alpha team! There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

Details

What makes a good MC? These are people who can host your Youth Alpha: one or two people who don’t mind speaking in front of groups and can make people feel at ease, especially if they don’t typically go to church.

The MC Team is the whole group host much like the discussion hosts are guiding a small group. You are guiding people along the journey of the evening. You are there to make things run smoothly and help people know what to expect and help everyone not feel awkward.

Since you are the guides, here is an overview of the evening:

  • Kick-off the evening at 7:00pm sharp by directing everyone to the food. Please use a microphone (get from the Tech Team). Each night you want to introduce yourselves to the group: “Hi, I’m Emily and I’m Hunter. We are going to be your guides through the evenings.” You don’t need to have everyone sit down when you “start”, just get their attention, introduce yourselves, point to the food, and invite them to sit where they want (guys with guys, girls with girls). I know this might be a little weird because we are a church, but don’t pray for the food. We will introduce that in a few weeks.
  • Around 7:20pm, the Fun Team will do something fun. You can either introduce them, hand them the microphone, or lead with them. Either way, you are the guides for the evening, so make sure the Fun Team knows to start around 7:20pm.
  • When the fun is over, probably around 7:35pm, it is time for the video. In the discussion guides (which you can find in the Discussion Team area), there is a section called the Big Idea. You can introduce the talk by highlighting the question and reading the Big Idea. For example, on week 2: “Tonight we are going to tackle the question: Who is Jesus? The video will introduce and talk through this topic. Jesus Christ is the most famous person in history and there’s evidence to suggest Jesus was more than a great religious teacher. His life, death and resurrection is the centerpiece of the Christian faith. The resurrection not only suggests that God exists, but also that God has revealed himself through Jesus.” Additionally, because our guests won’t know how the video and discussion works, make sure you let people know that 3 times during the video there is going to be a question, then some people “on the street” are going to take a stab at answering the question, then we are going to pause the video and you will discuss that question in your groups. You will do this introduction each week. Then you will instruct the Tech Team to play the video.
  • At the conclusion of the video (around 8:30pm), thank everyone for coming, share what the question is for the following week (i.e. “The Cross: Why did Jesus Die?”), share that you are hoping that everyone can make it back the following week, tell those groups that want to keep discussion going that they may do so, and then dismisses everyone else!

Sound good? Great!

Tech Team

  • Tracy
  • Jack
  • Lizzie
  • Mark

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Alpha team. There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

Details

Who can make sure we have the right audio and visual gear so that everything goes smoothly? A Tech Team usually consists of people who love to help out behind-the-scenes and make sure the background music is nice, the videos start and stop on time, the lights come on when necessary, microphones don’t squeal and send feedback into the speaker and blow out people’s ears :)!

The Tech Team needs some training. Mark Lundeen is amazingly gifted at running tech so he will have a lot more to offer you than what I can share. At the very least, this needs to happen each week:

  • The first night, please come around 6:30pm for crash course in tech training! We will show you how the house lights and stage lights work. We will show you how the audio system works so you can play music, adjust the volume for sound, and use the wireless microphone. We will show you how to work the computer so you know how to start and stop the videos during the pauses for discussion. We will also show you how to troubleshoot potential problems and how to fix them 🙂
  • Play background music during the beginning and during food.
  • Provide a microphone for the MC Team.
  • Show videos, display graphics or anything else the Fun Team needs.
  • Play the Youth Alpha video and pause it 3 times at the appropriate place for discussions. Please allow 5-10 minutes for discussion groups to discuss the question on the screen during each pause.
  • Play music when the video is over and after the MC Team has dismissed everyone.
  • Shut off all equipment for the night when everything is torn down and the room is reset.

Sound good?!

Welcome Team

  • Liesl
  • Hunter
  • Megan
  • Julia
  • Daniel

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Alpha team. There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

Details

High-fives, handshakes and fist bumps. Also, introducing yourself and asking for someone’s name and remembering that name the next week. These are the tools of a great Welcome Team! You are the front door, the first smiling, excited, human face of Youth Alpha. You get the opportunity to make a great first impression!

Practically speaking, because we are meeting in the back, in the Main Street Theatre room, we are going to need sort of direct people to this back room.

Have you ever been to a grocery store and asked a store employee where something that you couldn’t find was and then said, “Oh, it’s on aisle 6 on the right-hand side in the middle.” And then they kept on doing what they were doing? Then you went to aisle 6 and still couldn’t find what you were looking for?

What if instead of pointing people to the aisle, we actually stopped what we were doing and walked the customer to the item they were looking for and pointing it kindly out to them. Whenever a store employee has done that for me I am super-grateful.

We could do something similar as a Welcome Team. What if when people came in through the front doors and we walked them back to the Theatre room, showed them where it was, connected them with another person in the room (probably their friend), and then went back to the front for another person or set of people? Now some folks might want to wait for the friend that invited them, which is totally great… you could intentionally have some introductory conversation with them. Other people have been here before and know where to go. Use your judgment and don’t feel awkward walking people to the back.

Normally, as a Youth Group, we have people sign-in in order to be a part of Youth Group. For the first night of Youth Alpha, we won’t ask people to sign-in. If they come back for the second night of Youth Alpha, then we will ask them to fill out a card and get on the list. This is primarily for safety so we know who is in the building if we need to evacuate as well as for communicating with people who are involved in our youth group.

Make sure we smile, ask questions, give grace, handshakes, high-fives, and fist bumps galore!

Prayer Team

  • Jonathan
  • Daniel
  • Rachel

Thank you for saying yes to being on the Youth Alpha team! There are so many benefits to volunteering on Alpha. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, serve your community, learn or develop a new skill, grow in your own faith and ultimately, make a difference in someone’s life.

Details

One of the most important roles on our team is people who are willing to pray. Now I think everyone should be praying and seeking the Spirit’s leading as the evening unfolds, but a group of people intentionally praying for the Spirit of God to work in people’s lives is vital.

Prayer Team, can you:

  • gather the hosts and helpers that are available around 6:45pm and pray specifically with them?
  • connect with the MC Team and pray with them prior to 7:00pm?
  • go to the tech booth and pray for the Tech Team?
  • take some time when the evening gets started after 7:00pm and pray for the evening, for people who are going to be having spiritual conversations (those who are Christians and those who aren’t yet Christians), and that the enemy wouldn’t find a welcoming environment in this place?

Wonderful!

Youth Leaders

So this is going to be so much fun! For the next 10 weeks, we get to empower and equip students as they lead. How much fun is that?!

Here are some things we can do from week-to-week:

  • Pray for the students
  • Help the students, but don’t take over for the students. Offer to help them lead.
  • Be the students’ biggest cheerleader! When you see them do something good, tell them! When you see them fail, encourage them, offer them suggestions, all with an overwhelming dose of grace!
  • Be and participate in a small group discussions. But, DO NOT TALK MUCH! It is difficult for us as adults to talk too much in small groups. Jeremy does this himself, too :). We need to let the students lead. We need to give the students space to think and share their thoughts. Be the kind of adult that is inquisitive and super-supportive. Be the kind of helper that you wish your students would be in your small group :)!
  • If you notice opportunities or problems, bring them up to the students. If you don’t think the student will listen, let Jeremy know and he’ll determine what to do next.
  • Collect stories. This will be really important for the students to remember what happened. Let’s collect stories with each other as the weeks unfold. Stories about the kinds of conversations and discussions in small groups. Stories about how the students led and some major successes they did. And stories about funny things that happened that are worth remembering.

Sound good?!