Alpha Online, so how?

Alpha Online, so how?

Alpha Online, so how?

Alpha Online, so how?

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020





This links to a collection of our combined learning so far on how to run Alpha Online, feel free to comment, and if you have any questions please get in touch.

Headline is Alpha works online! A few small adaptations and you are ready to go. (Our current group meets across four timezones!)

Below is a collection of our combined learning so far on how to run Alpha Online:


Our Approach:

  • The model we are using is a two-platform event model. What we mean by this is:

    • Two platform: we use one platform ( to watch the video, and another platform ( to host the small group discussion.

    • Event: the video plays at a set time and can't be paused or rewound, we all watch at the same time.

'Two platform' Advantages:

  • The two platform has the advantage of being able to change either one if a better option becomes available.

  • Often a combined solution trades one aspect off for the other.

  • People are used to this as its what you do when you have a Netflix party or are watching TV whist FaceTiming a friend.

  • Its free!

'Two platform' Disadvantages:

  • People have to move from one platform to the other so you may loose people.

'Event' Advantages:

  • The event model is good because one of our aims with Alpha is to create community so there is a sense of we are all doing this together.

  • Christian community has always focused around time and place, so whilst place is hard it is good to keep the continuity of time!

  • If you say you can watch the video anytime, I think you are more likely to have people forget to watch it.

  • In this time of restricted movement its good for people's mental health to have fixed things happening that they have to fit around.

'Event' Disadvantages:

  • By running at a set time there will be some people who can't make it. (But this will always be the case unless you want to organise the whole thing by google poll. But referendums rarely lead to clear direction. (#Brexit)


Register your course at so that you:

  1. Get the resources to run the course

  2. Get connected with Alpha coaches & prayer support

  3. Can publish your course online (optional)

  4. And helps Alpha International gauge effectiveness or the resources and fundraise

Register your course:

  • To get all the resources register your course here on Alpha Builder:

Alpha film series video links:



Helpful to know:

There are three views to Online Church.

  1. Guest View - what most people see with the video, chat bar and links

  2. Host View - has an extra chat bar where hosts can coordinated communication with the team for the chat bar during the event.

  3. Admin View - this is where you schedule your events



  • Visit to set up each free account.

Helpful to know:

  • We create a separate free zoom account for each small group on our course.

  • This means each group has its own unique URL to join the chat and it takes you directly there.

  • On the free account the call times out after 40min and kicks everyone out bu you can just rejoin again on the same link.

  • By creating a reoccurring meeting you can use the same link every week.

  • [Not in video] One person needs to claim the Host role, either by logging in with account used to create the group or by using the CLAIM HOST CODE that is generated when you create the meeting. See the Leaders Video Guide below for more info.


It is really important that your team are well briefed and know what they are doing. To do this we made a little tutorial video and sent out all the bespoke info for each group directly to each one.

Team Message:

We send each groups info and links to the main host of each group, this is what we send:

<aside> 📥 Hey Bill & Ben...

Thank so much for leading Group 9, here is the Zoom link (which remains the same for the rest of the course) for Group 9's small group discussion.

Zoom Call Link Send this link out to your group:

The meeting lasts 40 minutes, at which point it will time out and remove everyone from the call. But then just log in again using the same link, let your group know this in advance, and the meeting will continue.

👩🏽‍💻Host Privileges Once in you can claim host privileges with this host code: 131313 (see tutorial video for more info). Do not share this with your group!

📺Alpha Video As always the video starts at 8pm and will be hosted on the HTBB Online Church platform, you can access this by going to and selecting:

HTBB Online (for English) or HTBB 线上崇拜 (for Mandarin)


Leaders video guide:

We also send this guide video along with the above message:

Host privileges:

  • This allows you to mute and unmute microphones

  • Change people's Screen names

  • Remove people from the room

  • Control screen share

  • KEY: if the host account is not in the room and no one claims the host privilege the room times out early (though you can all rejoin with the same link.


Alpha Online Host/Helper Briefing and Platform Hosting – Alpha at HTBB

HTBB runs its Alpha Online at HTBB on a two-platform setup. HTBB uses the following to runs its Alpha Online Course;

Church Online

Church Online will be main platform in which the Host/Helper and Guest will watch each episode of Alpha on.

The guests are encouraged to log into the Church Online website at least 30 minutes before the course starts.

As on the Church Online platform has a chat function, there will be dedicated people which will be interacting with the guest that are logged in. These roles are called “Host”. The main role of the “HOST” is to interact and assist the guest on inquiries which they may have.

Among those inquires maybe;

  1. I am “NEW”, where do I register?

  2. What is my group Zoom Link?

  3. I can’t log in to Zoom?

  4. What topic is tonight?

The Host will be responsible to assist in answering those like questions. The Host of the channel will also act as a moderator to ensure there is no spammer or people who will be using the platform to spread unappropriated messages or language.

Schedule for Alpha Online for HTBB is as follows:


Useful to know:

  • Chat bar - can be enabled so that people can talk to each other and ask questions during the video

  • Online greeting team - We have a team who answer questions on the chat, also because its open to the public it is useful to have someone who can mute contributors who are spamming.


Miles' for Ss of leading an Alpha group discussion online:

  • Smaller - 8 maximum including hosts and helpers.

  • Shorter - max 40 minutes discussion and no more than 1.5 hours each session, one hour if possible.

  • Stronger - need to be higher in energy and more directive, for example calling names is perfectly fine because people don’t know when to jump in with their thoughts and opinions.

    • One way to host that seems to work and we've found fruitful is to say:

    • "Normally we wouldn't pick people out in a discussion but on Zoom we need to be a little more direct so sometimes I'll ask you a question by name, but feel free to pass, and when you pass on to someone else. Also if you answer a question feel free to choose who you want to go next.

    • ☝🏽THIS REALLY WORKED!! The group became really comfortable asking each other questions and it meant that the group hosts weren’t the centre of the discussion.

  • Savvier - be very familiar with the technology) – video on, text chat or raise hand, reactions. We suggest that you always have a practice session first before embarking on the actual session.


Guest guide:

We made a simple tutorial video for the guests to show them how every step works. This was shared via each small groups WhatsApp group.

8. ALPHA This is the video we created for our Alpha weekend. The order is:

  1. Groups meet on Zoom to say hello

  2. Introduction from Hosts (video starts)

  3. Worship Song

  4. Talk 1: Who is the Holy Spirit

  5. Hosts explaining 1 Corinthians 12 Bible Study

  6. Small Group Discussion with Timer

  7. Talk 2: How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit

  8. Hosts leading Ministry (video ends)

  9. Small Group time to pray for one another

Our edits of the video with the hosing built in (begins with a 30min holding screen):

Weekend Away Mandarin ONLINE V 3

Weekend Away ENG ONLINE V 3


We said that usually we do an Alpha Weekend away, so this time we are having an Alpha Weekend (not) away! And said this is where we look at the person and the work of the Holy Spirit, join us for a short Saturday morning Alpha sessions 10-12:15.

Running order for prayer ministry:

  • The video ends with Nicky praying come Holy Spirit. At which it cut to the hosts leading us in a time of waiting on the Holy Spirit.

  • Then one of the hosts gave people the opportunity to become Christians by praying 'Thank You, Sorry, Please' as found in the back of 'Why Jesus?'

  • We then shared words of knowledge that the team had received and then sent people off to pray in their groups.

  • In the groups we asked did anyone respond to those words, then prayed into them. Then asked if we could pray for people one by one. The key was to be direct and keep it moving.

  • Then we wrapped up on time and said see you on Wednesday for the next session! (Sometimes people think that this is the end of the course)

Post Weekend (not) Away Learnings


  • Flexible timings, the flexible timing of running the weekend was a massive win for us (being cross time zones) but also as we were able to pick good times that worked with the people in our group (UK Lunch, KL post Dinner, Mumbai Pre Dinner) and all our guests were able to come.


  • We ended up cutting out the pre hosting and worship as one of our guests was having to go to work, but the whole event was still just over 1.5 hours which still felt long on zoom.

  • I think we need to get the whole thing from start to finish down to 1h 20min (so you have time for ministry and finish still).

Bible Study:

  • Usually the first questions in the Bible study is a comprehension question of what are the gifts listed which always felt a bit schoolish.

  • Instead we read the passage, and then just put the list of the gifts mentioned up in the chat and said which of these have you encountered… and the discussion was a lot better.


  • Ministry time worked

  • We should cut out the Question mark after Nicky, as some people thought it was finished

  • The 'Sorry-Thank-You-Please, prayer by Lou was a win as it would have been awkward for us to do it, but great with Lou, then worked having me do ministry. But needed to be snappier in the explainations.

  • Then did words of knowledge in the group, spoken out and in the chat bar and some people responded.

  • Went around the group said: one host prays for each person but if you want to add in a pray feel free which some did.

  • Really great time, but had to keep it moving so people didn’t check out.


✏️Sign Up


  • Fill out your details so we can find the perfect small group for you!

📫 Email Confirmation

  • You’ll receive all the details you need via email

🗓 Wednesday 15th April


  • 8pm click the Zoom Link

  • eg.

  • Zoom Opens Up

  • Meet your group!


  • Then 8:10pm the film starts

  • We’ll watch this on a separate site.

  • The link is in the email.

  • Or head and press: ONLINE SERVICE


  • After the video rejoin your small group on Zoom

    • (If the link times out, don’t worry just click it again, it’s the same link for every week)

  • For a discussion around that weeks topic.


  • Reply to the confirmation email

  • Small group host will be in touch on the day so that you have direct link with them too!


Adrian's guide to how we decide which group to put people in:

Guest > Host

Guest to Host allocation is based on invitation by a host to join their particular group. The guest who is registering would only need to put down their name under “Is there a guest/host/group that you would like to be with?” . The aim is to ensure any invited guest gets to be with the host which invited them.

Once a group reaches a maximum of 10 guest vs Host/Helper ration, we will look for a new group for any new guest.

Guest Age > Host

Guest age, will be a deciding factor to which group would the guest be assign. The aim is to pair people of similar age group together.

Once a group reaches a maximum of 10 guest vs Host/Helper ration, we will look for a new group for any new guest.

Guest Alpha Experience > Host

Guest Alpha Experience (Have you done Alpha before) ratio will be deciding factor to which guest goes to which group. The aim is to have a good mix of people who had done Alpha before vs First timers.

Once a group reaches a maximum of 10 guest vs Host/Helper ration, we will look for a new group for any new guest.

Guest Church Experience > Host

Guest Church Experience (Do you regularly attend church) ratio will be deciding factor to which guest goes to which group. The aim is to have a good mix of people who goes to church vs non-regular or non-goers.

Once a group reaches a maximum of 10 guest vs Host/Helper ration, we will look for a new group for any new guest.


Running Order:

  • 8:00pm Zoom Call - Say hi to everyone

  • 8:05pm Brief

    • Running order

    • What to do if the call gets cut off (click same link)

    • Let's all head over to the video platform

  • 8:10pm Film starts

  • 8:35pm Film ends - Zoom call for discussion

  • Say hi again, then ice breakers:

    • Describe yourself game (see below - replaces the Name Game)

    • If you were trapped on a desert island (isolated at home, what one thing would you take with you)

  • Questions:

    • How do you end up here tonight?

      • NB. start with the permission giver, the one who doesn't want to be there!

    • If it turned out there was a God and you could ask one question, what would you ask?

      • Note down people's answers and say we'll come back to these at the end to see if people have found what they were looking for.

  • Finish at 9:15

    • Messages: We will form a WhatsApp group just say if you don't want to be part of it.

    • See you next week at the same time, same links!

Alternative to the Name Game: