Study Guides


Together, we are called to be more Christ-like: contemplative, compassionate and courageous for the sake of God’s world. Five study guides are available for individuals and small groups to explore what this means for our Church, and for each of us. To date, over 7,000 people have benefited from the studies and we pray that many more will do so during 2020.

Exploring the Beatitudes (2017)

Exploring the Beatitudes shows how the Beatitudes are a manifesto for the Church and words of joy and hope. We need to learn again to speak of the life of the Church in the language of joy and hope and confidence.

Exploring the Beatitudes is a three-session course for small groups in the Diocese of Oxford, but many churches in other areas of the country have found it useful too. The 32 printed page booklet has accompanying audio and video materials and an accessible audio version of the booklet is also available for those who have sight impairment – please contact us for details.

Exploring the Beatitudes can be used by established groups or by a group formed especially to engage with the material together. If you are working with either kind of small group, the Beatitudes study guidelines for small groups may be useful.


Abundant Life (2018) £2.50

Abundant Life looks at one of the most powerful stories in the Gospels, the raising of Lazarus. It’s a story that reveals Jesus as contemplative, compassionate and courageous. The booklet can be used by individuals or small groups at any time of the year. You don’t need to be part of a small group to engage with the material and the booklet is useful whichever part of the country you live in.

A reflection is offered for each on 18 days (six on each theme of contemplative, compassionate and courageous). There are prayers and reflections for each seventh day, ending with a question, a thought or a prayer to take into the day with you.

Reading the Lazarus story over three weeks may well be something you fit into an existing daily schedule of prayer and Bible reading. You may want to use Abundant Life to begin a daily time of prayer and study for the first time.


Alive in Christ (2018) £2.50

Alive in Christ is based on Paul’s letter to Colossians. Addressed to the smallest, least important town of any New Testament letter it provides us with an essential description of what it means to live as a Christian disciple and what it means to be the Church.

Alive in Christ is the third study guide in the series and intended as a resource for small groups to explore more deeply what it means to be a Christ-like Church for the sake of God’s world. It is not necessary to complete each study guide in the order that it was published, though it may be helpful to do so if your small group has not yet engaged with the Common Vision process.

Alive in Christ is a 32 page booklet with space for each member of your group to make notes during each session. The study can be completed over three sessions, though your small group may decide more time is needed for each discussion.


Principles of Deep Water Fishing (2019) £2.50

The story of the spread of Christian faith across the Roman world is full of surprises. It is a story of both suffering and joy. It is a story of human endeavour and God’s agency. It is a story that the Church has returned to again and again across two thousand years as we seek fresh inspiration for God’s mission. It is the story told by St Luke, both in his gospel and his second book, the Acts of the Apostles.

In every era of the Church, Christian’s have turned to Luke’s great narrative to return to first principles and to find renewal. In Principles of Deep Water Fishing Bishop Steven helps us to reflect on the principles of Christian mission in Luke and Acts; essential for anyone contemplating what it means to become a more Christ-like Church for the sake of God’s world.

As we begin to act and attempt new ways of being church, Principles of Deep Water Fishing helps us to listen to Luke and find fresh inspiration for mission today.


Living is Christ, Dying is Gain (2020) £2.50

A new four-session course for small groups based on Bishop Steven’s reflections on the book of Philippians. In this new and challenging season for the church, we are returning to the centre and rediscovering what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ in small groups and along simpler paths.

None of us would have chosen this journey in this way. But that does not mean that we have nothing to learn. Paul calls the Philippians out of lockdown to return to Christ as the centre and the pattern of their faith: to be contemplative, compassionate and courageous no matter what they are facing. The same call comes to us.

Living is Christ, Dying is Gain will be helpful to individuals and small groups of Christians meeting together online or in person in the coming months. Readers and small groups will, again, hear the simple call of Christ: follow me.


Resources for small groups and personal study


Abundant Life

Abundant Life podcast (free)
iTunes | Android | on your computer

Alive in Christ is a self-contained study guide.

Principles of Deep Water Fishing is a self-contained study guide. However, you may like to watch Bishop Steven’s teaching on Acts (3x 30 minute films) on which the study guide is based:

Living is Christ, Dying is Gain is a self-contained study guide. Readers may choose to listen to the podcasts on which these studies are based. Links to listen online, or download an MP3 file are provided below. There are minor discrepancies between Bishop Steven’s spoken words and this text, sometimes in the version of the Bible used. The text in the study guide is based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

How to download the MP3 version

Click a listen online link to open the Soundcloud player. Click the download button that appears in the window. The mp3 file will automatically download and appear in your downloads folder.