Earlier this year, The Friday Group spent some of our sessions looking at a course of videos called Youth Alpha. Although some members had looked at this previously, it was beneficial to everyone in the group in a variety of ways. Each session was focused on a specific theme, with a video explaining the topic in creative and interesting ways; things were described using small comedy sketches, animations and stories from people willing to share their experiences, for example.
During each video, there would be a question posed to us. The discussions around the questions made everyone in our group really think about ourselves, others, and what it means to be a Christian – among other things. For these discussions we would separate into smaller groups of two or three, plus a leader, which really allowed us to delve into the question and we would all have a chance to reveal our thoughts. This was such a great environment to share our opinions and ask questions, we all felt we could say absolutely anything, meaning our understanding of our faith grew more and more in each session.
Photo: Discussion groups during Youth Alpha
For me, the Youth Alpha course has been a particularly positive part of coming to Friday Group. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the series of sessions, I was fascinated to hear the experiences of the other people around me as we were all further exploring our faith together. During Youth Alpha, I began to feel a greater sense of belonging in the Church and at Friday Group, because I could feel I was slowly opening myself up increasingly to God as the weeks went on and I learnt and understood more.
Following the course, The Friday Group went on a weekend away, to really put into practice and further consider what we’d learnt from the series of videos. It wasn’t until this moment that everything we’d learnt in the past few weeks really began to be visible to me in our lives rather than just agreeing with what somebody on a screen was saying. Living in such a strong Christian community for just those three days away allowed me to see how everyone uses their time with God differently, and how they make sure he is the centre of all that they do.
Photo: The Friday Group Weekend Away
After the course and weekend away were over, I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to continue everything I’d learnt and bring it into my day to day life. However, on a rainy afternoon in a coffee shop, The Friday Group all discussed what we’d learnt and what we plan to/would like to do next. Everyone made personal goals they’d like to achieve based around ideas from Youth Alpha.
One thing that stuck out to me from these videos, although it may seem relatively obvious and had always been important to me previously, was how important spending time with God either in prayer or by reading the Bible more frequently is, and how it could improve our relationship. I aimed to be better and do this every day from that moment onwards, whether that be through reading the Bible, prayer or worship music. I found it surprising how difficult I found it to make time in my day for this. I make a conscious effort to do it more meaning I’m also much more aware of everything I do and think so much more before I do things while trying to keep him at the centre of everything. Youth Alpha was a great step in each of our journeys, has greatly improved my own faith and inspired me and others in The Friday Group to further our faith and understanding each day.