What is it?
Youth Alpha is a practical and interactive introduction to the Christian faith, where youth are able to explore the meaning of life on their own terms. It runs over an 8 to 10 week period and has 14 sessions that look at the key elements of the Christian faith in a relevant format for youth.
The course is most effective when it is peer-led, by youth themselves. It's relaxed, friendly and fun. It is relationship focused and seeks to connect those on the course in ongoing, meaningful relationships. Youth get to ask any questions they want and can discuss the topics in a place where their views are listened to and respected.
The content is available in a flexible, easy to adapt leaders guide (available at Koorong Bookshops), so that it can be run in any setting/location, with any group of youth. Youth Alpha has been run at Church youth groups, schools, prisons, skate parks and many more places. The only limit for where you can run it is your creativity. It's designed to incorporate games, food, small groups, multimedia, live talks and just about anything else you think will engage young people.
Youth Alpha aims to be an evangelism tool that young people can use to share the Gospel with their friends. At the same time it is an incredibly effective discipleship tool for new or old Christians alike. It’s also great for developing and training young Christian leaders as youth are given the opportunity to lead on the course.
Youth Alpha is a specialty course of The Alpha Course. The Alpha Course has been running for over 30 years. It began at Holy Trinity Brompton in central London, in the late 1970s, initially as a means of presenting the basic principles of the Christian faith to new Christians in a relaxed and informal setting.
By 1990, when former barrister Nicky Gumbel took over the Alpha course, it was a central feature of the church's life. It was while leading his second Alpha course that Nicky realised how this simple course could also appeal to non-churchgoers and he adapted the course to give it the kind of feel that would suit this group.
The Alpha course spread during the 1990s, initially in the UK and then internationally, as more churches and groups found it a helpful way to answer questions about the Christian faith in an informal setting. There are now over 46,000 courses worldwide each year and around 16 million people have participated in an Alpha course since it began. The Alpha course is run in 163 countries and it is supported by all the major denominations of the church.