Six Essential Steps

feetHow does EXPLORE work?

Explore Together is structured as follows:

  1. An ‘open question’ (one without one strict answer) will be posed for the community to explore.
  2. The community will be encouraged to try to begin finding an answer by participating in a range of exploratory activities together that will enable them to use their intelligences and skills, and give them space to listen to God.
  3. The community will then come together to share what they have discovered or made/drawn/written

There are 6 essential steps to Explore Together:

  1. The Bible
  2. Presenting the Bible
  3. Pray
  4. Explore
  5. Share
  6. Thank You

Step 1: The Bible

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16

The Bible has authority and holds the power to challenge, convict and affirm, and what better place to experience this than within a safe community. The core essence of Explore Together is to allow the Bible to speak for itself which often goes against our natural desire to explain its meaning or to wait for someone to explain it to us. It exposes our vulnerability and pushes us out of our comfort zone.

Offering the community the opportunity to respond to the Bible passage in their own way will open doors and reveal pathways that will ignite passion, awe and wonder. It requires a huge amount of trust and humility. As you prepare, study the passage prayerfully and consider the questions you could ask to help the community to focus on the scripture and hear God’s voice.

Step 2: Presenting the Bible

However we choose to present the Word it is important that we provide a contextual framework. Our understanding of the passage is enhanced when we recognise where it fits within the big story. End this part of the session by introducing the questions you have prepared. Don’t be tempted to answer them, just plant them gently into their minds.

Step 3: Pray

Asking God to open our hearts and minds so that we can hear as we explore the Bible together, prepares the community to approach the next step with reverence. This time of prayer can be creative, interactive, responsive, meditative or sung. It could also include communion and intercession.

Ensure that there is a place set aside where people can go if they feel that they need someone to pray with them specifically. Have a small team of people available to offer prayer if required. Prayer should be available throughout Explore Together.

Step 4: Explore

Display the Explore questions clearly, taking into consideration the non-readers in your community. Make sure you read out the questions, including simple and more stretching questions.

Before your session begins you will have prepared and set out six Explore Zones. These six zones are based on the extensive research carried out into the way people learn. Remember the jelly beans? We all have different strengths and learning preferences.

Allow the community 15–20 minutes to Explore. It is not unusual for people to visit more than one zone, especially those in the community with short attention spans.

Step 5: Share

After the Explore session encourage the community to come together and share what they have discovered. This is best done in small groups (no fewer than 8, no more than 12) which reflect diversity, but can be done as a whole community.

The sharing time is a valuable time of learning. The community will be supporting, learning from, guiding and encouraging each other. It provides an opportunity for people to practice speaking publicly about their faith. Explore Together also enables those in positions of pastoral leadership to measure the spiritual temperature of the community.

Step 6: Thank you

This is a drawing together time. If the sharing has been done in small groups it is good at this point to get some feedback. It can be really exciting and encouraging to hear how God has been communicating. End this time with prayers of thanksgiving to God for all that has been revealed.


  1. julia Myles says:

    this looks fabulous …. and dare I suggest a great alternative to Messy church!…. but where are the resource ideas to support the setting up of each zone?

  2. Hi Julia, an explanation of the Zones can be found in the menu. The idea is not to set out specific activities but to provide the resources in each zone to encourage spirit led exploration. The listening zone can be the most challenging, since the creation of the website there has been the suggestion that this zone could be the place where people could choose to listen to a sermon.
    As we develop the website we hope that people will share their ideas and experiences. We will also be including ideas as to where you can source downloadable audio tracks and free images.
    Explore Together is intended to be organic rather than a prescriptive resource.
    I hope this helps to answer your question. The Explore Together website is a work in progress and it really helps to get feedback. Watch this space as we continue to shape it’s content.

    Messy Church and Explore Together compliment each other in many ways. Explore Together can be used as a way of engaging with the Bible within any context. It is just one way of exploring the Bible ‘in community’.
    Messy Church is fresh expression of church developed to encourage new congregations previously out of reach of ‘traditional’ church. Rather than replace Messy Church, Explore Together could be used within a Messy Church context.

    Thank you for your comments Julia, I hope you find lots of opportunities to ‘Explore Together’ in your community.

  3. says:

    is there a way I can download the logo and jelly bean slide as ppt for our service. (I’ve bought resource so am registered) I can seem to find it on here?

    • Caleb @ Scripture Union says:

      I’ve added a high-res version of the logo to the Downloads page (you’ll need to be logged in to access it). You should be able to add that to your PowerPoint presentation by copying and pasting, or saving and importing. I’m not sure yet if we can provide the jelly bean image though.

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