last year at the Simply Youth Ministry Convention, i sat down with a sharp young canadian youth leader named jason ballard. he wanted to talk to me about the series of films he and another guy had created for Youth Alpha. he talked about raising a quarter million dollars (or something like that) to really do it right, flying around the world to film on location. he spoke passionately about what they’d created, and his frustration that the films weren’t getting any meaningful distribution in the states.
a couple months later, i finally got around to watching the films. and i was blown away.
Alpha, in case you’re not familiar with it, is an open-handed and low-coercion approach to evangelism, originating in england. the approach is to host a series of exploratory meetings with people interested in talking about christianity. there’s no bait-and-switch. there are no high pressure tactics. in england and canada, Alpha has a seen great traction. a canadian youth ministry friend of mine recently ran a Youth Alpha course and found he had more teenagers coming than normally attend his youth group. Alpha, it seems to me, works really well in more post-christian contexts. Alpha has seen some traction in the states, but it’s been an uphill climb.
but here’s what i particularly noticed when watching the film series: the ‘basics of christianity’ topics are things that ALL youth workers would want their groups to be talking about! Sticky Faith and the National Study of Youth and Religion have shown us that even regular attenders of most of our youth ministries really don’t know what they believe. and if they can articulate a belief set, we might be surprised that it’s not exactly orthodox christianity (even if they think it is).
so The Youth Cartel decided to become a distributor of the Alpha Youth Film Series. ultimately, we’d love to see youth workers use it as a way to engage unchurched teenagers in dialogue about jesus and christianity. but i really believe it’s a one-of-a-kind resource for basics of the faith also, for any youth group. it’s SUPER high quality (you won’t be embarrassed).
here’s the official description:
The Alpha Youth Film Series is 12 video sessions designed to engage students in conversations about faith, life and Jesus.
Today’s youth are a savvy, diverse, and fast-paced generation, who are seeking for relevant truth and personal acceptance in a world that seems to offer both in things like money, fame, sex, drugs, sports, media, education, and careers. For many young people, Christianity is so ten years ago-a boring religion that my parents believed, but is no longer relevant in this 21st century culture. How can we make the timeless message of the Gospel applicable and interesting to our postmodern youth?
we have 3 things for sale in the Cartel store: a DVD set with one participant discussion guide, a flash drive with digital versions of everything, and individual (inexpensive) participant discussion guides (with bulk discounts).
the DVD set and flash drive include:
• Twelve 20 minute episodes
• Built-in discussion breaks
• Supporting discussion questions
• 3 training videos (for you and your team)
here are the topics this series covers:
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?
Follow: How Does God Guide Us Into Full Life?
Spirit: Who Is the Holy Spirit and What Does He Do?
Fill: How Can I Be Filled With the Holy Spirit?
Evil: How Can I Resist Evil?
Healing: Does God Heal Today?
Church: What About the Church and Telling Others?
in short, i strongly encourage you to check this out. considering how robust this thing is, the price is really fantastic ($59.99 for the DVD set or flash drive).
here’s the video trailer to wet your appetite:
Official Trailer Youth Alpha Film Series from Alpha USA on Vimeo.