After 10 years of Online Bible Study #OBS we’re now gathering face-to-face as we develop Virtual Bible Study #VBS communities. This is a game-changer for online ministry because we meet in different geographic locations and time zones.

Rather than communicate in one direction as we do through Facebook groups, we now communicate multi-directional. What exactly does that mean?

In Facebook studies a leader posts a discussion question and then our group members type their comments below the question. This format is visual and runs from top to bottom in an organized method. It works but there are some drawbacks…

When someone replies to a comment, many group members miss the reply because Facebook has hidden the post. Plus, a reply comment requires the participant to go back up the timeline again. Imagine a participant using her small handheld phone (as many women do) and trying to read vertically!!

Yes, vertically… Her eyes keep scanning up and down the page to read as much as she can in the one hour group meeting. In my Monday groups we can have from 300 to 800 comments in an hour. Can you imagine trying to READ all that? 

With our new format members communicate multi-directionally! They see faces, hear tone of voice, watch tears fall and smiles breakthrough.

Yes, there’s more!

They ask questions, listen to each other share stories, and gather from numerous living rooms.

We’re a family of believers.

The inconveniences of video Bible study #VBS are small. We don’t need to dress to impress, drive an hour to local church, or hire a babysitter. Many of our participants are homeschool moms, caretakers, or grandparents with little ones in their lap.

Last week a woman joined us from her car while her husband drove her home from cancer treatments. Another woman joined us from her hospital bed and a third woman wheeled around our screen in her mobile disability chair. It was thrilling to know we were not limited by health and we could all meet together in this virtual cafe.

There’s an excitement knowing that we are “visible” and not just an anonymous face behind a screen. Without doubt, we’re connecting hearts and learning about REVIVAL. 

While I still enjoy Facebook #OBS discussions, I now enjoy #VBS discussions even more as we move our tents away from a platform that censors Christianity.