At the start of a new season of Alpha TV, Alpha’s Louise Stannard sat down to explain the vision behind our live streaming channel.
What is Alpha TV?
Alpha TV is a new tool aimed to help leaders run Alpha. Every Wednesday throughout this Alpha series, Alpha TV will stream the Alpha talk from HTB in London live to the rest of the world. The idea is that people will get together for a meal, tune in to Alpha TV and then host a discussion afterwards. If you aren’t able to join us live on Wednesday, there’s a catch up element that you can use to screen the talk to your Alpha group at another time.
Why did Alpha decide to launch Alpha TV?
We wanted to get the latest content out there as quickly as possible. Before Alpha TV, the only resource Alpha leaders had for screening talks was a DVD set produced in 2007. The world is changing so quickly that we felt that leaders needed something more up to date. Alpha TV allows us to update the talks for each season and make sure they stay relevant to our guests.
We’ve found that people really want to feel as though they’re part of something bigger. Guests have enjoyed knowing that there are other people in the country doing Alpha at the same time as them. One guy even said, ‘Knowing that others all over the country have been dragged along like me makes me feel better about it!’ We want to make sure Alpha groups all around the globe feel connected.
What has the wider response been?
The feedback has been really positive. Some leaders that have been using the DVD for a while say Alpha TV has been refreshing and brought a new sense of excitement. We’ve also heard that since we launched Alpha TV, some groups have been able to attract younger guests. Others found that more guests showed up for the second week once the word had spread about the first night.
It also seems to have brought unity to churches in some areas. This year, four churches in Swindon have decided to join up to watch Alpha TV Live and run Alpha together. People have picked it up abroad too – I know a rugby player who’s been using Alpha TV to lead Alpha for his teammates in France.
What advice would you give people wanting to run Alpha in a more informal setting?
Running Alpha can be really simple. If you use Alpha TV you don’t have to worry about doing the talks yourself and your guests don’t have to worry about offending the speaker by saying what they really think. You can just focus on having an interesting evening in a relaxed atmosphere. The social time and the space for a post-talk discussion are still key – Alpha TV isn’t a replacement for the whole experience. We live stream Alpha training for your helpers too so you can get everything you need to know to prepare for Alpha.
What’s next for Alpha TV? What are you doing differently?
We would love to invite people using Alpha TV Live to start a conversation on social media. While they’re tuned in to the live stream, it would be incredible if leaders and guests started to connect with us by tweeting their comments and questions using #Alpha. The hope is that if there’s someone else running Alpha down the road, they’ll begin to have a discussion throughout the talk. That’s what Alpha TV is all about – starting a live conversation.
To view the latest episodes on Alpha TV, check out alpha.org/tv