An online Bible workshop to help explore complex practical topics.

Remove the fog


A new way of applying the Bible to your life involving exploration of the Bible and observation about our lives in a workshop format.

What it looks like

First, a group of people (any size) will watch a few videos introducing a topic from a number of different angles.

Then, you will break into small groups of about 6-10 and work through either applying the topic to your life/family/community or examining your life/family/community for how it could better act in light of the Bible.

A growing number of tools and processes will be available to use to help.

What topics could be discussed?

Anything really! But the topics most suited to this format are those that are complex; or which have a number of different views or angles to them; or which people only vaguely know about; or are easily confused by.

This format is best suited to helping people understand something—the beginning stages—and apply something to their lives.

Once the topic is understood and agreed on, better formats are available such as preaching, where encouragement, conviction, and vision can flourish.


There is a surprisingly large gap in the way that we learn as Christians, with very few options available for learning-by-copying which is a key way that humans learn (Jesus' method was like this with his disciples; apprenticeships are founded on this; etc.).

There's no TAFE-level learning

Bible Colleges suit only a small percentage of the Body of Christ. But what about the 'tradies' of the Church?

What space is there where apprenticeships can be nurtured?

Where do we go to see success, to imitate that?

How can the majority learn—those who want to live as Christians in their workplace, family, church or local community?

For example, very few today grow up feeling equipped with the right attitude for work; or with a strong biblical foundation for raising kids; or know what to do - or have a vision for - eldership/leadership in the church; or can see a way forward to tackle any of the problems they see in their neighbourhood.

Furthermore, we live in an increasingly hostile world, with bad ideas like:

  • Do what your heart tells you
  • Rebellion is cool
  • Rejection of wisdom from experienced people
  • Be happy for tomorrow we die (24/7 entertainment)
We need to counter these ideas with visible expressions of truth and light (so, not just the theory, but the practice), and we just don't really know what to do except perhaps bunker down and ignore the world.

Instead, if we could encourage each other as light-bearers and messengers of hope, we could go forth.

Finally, in these days of COVID-19, we live in a very strange and uncertain times, which demand almost constant re-assessment of practices and processes. The best time to start an exploratory workshop!

So what's the hope of these workshops?

What if we could see—watch—successful families, successful evangelists, successful parents, successful workers and thereby be able to copy their practice into our lives?

What if we could indicate our desire to grow in a particular area and be mentored or apprenticeshipped, and 'masters' from around the world could teach us?

What if all of life could be done for the glory of God, not just our inner individual behaviour?

What if God has given us a body of believers that together have the wisdom we all need to do life abundantly?


This is probably best done face to face but in these days we need to facilitate it online. Enter Mural, an online poster, collaborative digital workspace.

The following is a practical guide:

Selecting a topic is probably the easiest part; people have lots of questions. Just make sure they are practical in focus (lest it be a Bible College level discussion that leaves out a lot of people).

Here are some starting ideas:

  • How do we put into practice last Sunday's sermon?
  • Work: How can we be distinctively Christian at work?
  • Relationships: How do I have difficult conversations with someone close?
  • Housing: How can we live as a closer community?
  • Church: Is our church healthy? What makes a healthy church?
  • Church: How can we manage change better?
  • Social: How can we address loneliness?
  • Social: How can we be distinctively Christian during a community crisis?
  • Parenting: How can we wean a screen-addicted child?

Next you will need some thoughtful perspectives (biblical perspectives), as well as some rich experiences (to help focus on real life). These are discussion starters, so do not have to represent the entirety of the topic (not that they could!)—but what you leave out probably won't get discussed much.

Get a wide lens by:

  • Asking all those you know if they have a succinct article, video, author, or experience they can share.
  • Doing a quick online search particularly for: different Christian views on (topic).
  • Books often contain immense depth to a topic, as opposed to the breadthe of views online. You don't need to read them, but, many introduce a topic in opposition to another. View the topic on Amazon, read the blurbs and reviews, and you'll get heaps of starting points.
  • Ask a Bible College student, or a librarian for a wide-angled look at the topic.
  • Grab a TED talk
  • You are aiming for about 5 minutes per video/article, so if anything is too long, see if you can find a shorter version, or summary article, or just watch part of the video.

Set a date, invite people, and make sure you have these two people in place:

  1. A facilitator/MC who will be more or less the 'spokesperson' that runs the show. On Mural, the faciliator can pull everyone to a particular part of the screen so everyone is working on the same activity.
  2. A technical facilitator who knows how to use Mural and online things. This person can fix up formatting, help to utilise all of the features of Mural, and so on.

    The MC probably won't be able to focus on this as well as running the workshop, hence it will work best to have this as a separate person.

The key piece of information people will need is the URL to the starting Mural. Everything should be on there, including etiquette, what to do in the workshop, and so on.

Now it's time to run the workshop! Here are the general steps:

  1. When people first come in this may be the first time they've seen it. They'll need a short orientation to the basics.
  2. Unless you have organised a call, there will just be chat via typing, so, always have a runsheet (e.g. in the top-left) so people know what to do.
  3. Watch/read the starter videos/articles. Decide on your order - consume them all and then do the first activity, or consume them one at a time and do an activity after each one.
  4. Encourage people to add sticky notes (on the Mural) on the videos/articles as they watch/read them. This is the basis for 'discussion'.
  5. Give a one-minute warning before pulling everyone in to an activity (the Mural-paying facilitator can do this).
  6. Start an activity. This could flow from the videos, such as "what did you think?", or "what is helpful about this?" It could be more structured such as finding all the Bible verses on the topic, or critically analysing an experience.
  7. You might run one activity per video/article, or several that build on each other. Each may be 10-20 minutes. This will not give sufficient time to complete them (we don't have three months, after all), but will give a base to move to the next activity.
  8. Your last activity may be best one that brings everyone together in a chat (or call), to ask the big thing that each group or person learned. The facilitator could move the screen around and ask about something that interests them, or, each participant could just talk.
  9. At the completion of your time, make sure to thank all participants and let them know about the next one. Some will need to go, but some can stay if they are happy to stay.
  10. What's great about this being online is that you (all) can continue using the mural for as long as you want. Keep it open, but restricted to the same group, and you can build on it throughout the week.

Guiding principles

Where does this study sit theologically? Is this a Protestant thing only? How would this not devolve into flame wars?

Everything should find its root in the Bible. All biblical ideas are accepted, but once an idea is found to be rooted in a non-biblical worldview, it should not be pursued. This is not a free-for-all where all ideas are accepted, even though it is much more open to ideas than most Bible studies, by nature of it being exploratory.
We learn as much from others as from the Bible, for better or worse, and so we encourage a strong experiential story-telling element of practical wisdom, hopefully acting as a living book of Proverbs for today's world. We do not uncritically accept these stories, but analyse these experiences in light of Scripture. We need to see biblical principles worked out in life, just like the parables of Jesus and the stories of the heroes of faith inspire us.
God demands our whole selves and lays claim to every created thing, every person, family and group. As such, we eschew teaching personal piety alone in favour of a holistic examination of life. There is no sacred/secular divide, and as I talk to different people I find many agree to that sentiment but don't know how to apply it: this format is best suited to that discovery.
We all have gifts and have our vital part to play in the Body of Christ. Some call this "the priesthood of all believers". Some have gifts we've come to know as "ministry" (following a sacred/secular divide) including pastoral, mission, evangelistic and teaching. Many have other vital gifts such as mothering, fathering, creativity, working, problem solving, nurturing, administration, and so on. It's time to re-focus on equipping and upholding the whole Body—after all, what good is a well-functioning mouth with dysfunctional legs that can only shuffle a few centimetres to the next seat beside them, or an intestinal system that takes offense at everything, or an immune system that cannot detect bad fruit?
The message should suit the intended audience, and so not be entirely theory-based (that's where Bible college sits), but focus around the practical endpoint of the theory. A large part of the theory will be assumed, not debated, although for each church a different theory will be assumed. Nevertheless, reasonable latitude may be given for any one topic (your church may have a mix of Calvinists and Armininians, for example), and hence it is not solely practical in its focus.
The facilitator running the study should be well versed in practical peacemaking, encouraging learning of other points of view (provided it can be established from the Bible) and discouraging aggression (preaching your point of view to the exclusion of others is not a feature of this, even though the whole point is to help you come to a particular belief). Assertions backed up with evidence are encouraged as an alternative to aggressive dialogue. The point is not to 'win', but to come to an understanding of the truth (debate is great—but is better facilitated elsewhere). If after the study you need to make a decision that will exclude other views or ideas, you are in a much better position having understood the alternatives, than ignoring or misrepresenting them.
We believe in teaching how to think, not just what to think, and as such provide tools and processes to help put a biblical passage or concept in context, or analyse an experience in light of Scripture. Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day; but, teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime.



An example starter poster for exploring a complex issue. See this COVID-19 Response mural.


Building on the exploration phase, this poster begins a process of observing patterns, asking key questions, and evaluating claims.

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