It all began with a workshop!
In years past we had been blessed to attend what was known as Workshop in the Word, held in Durango, Colorado. The workshop was dedicated to exegesis. It was all about learning the text for what it was saying and not what those teaching wanted it to say. It opened the eyes of so many and allowed all who attended to begin to grasp the knowledge that had been placed on each page with every word used. This workshop was special and specialized in the New Testament teachings of the Bible by taking a deep dive into the text. It was truly a blessing to be a part of.
After a number of years the workshop sadly ended and it left a void within many. Not necessarily because the workshop was over, but essentially because that type of study was not something you would find in other events. As the workshop ended a question was asked to Denny Petrillo by Garrett Bernethy, “if something could be started in Oklahoma, would you consider being a part of it?” Denny’s answer, “absolutely!”
Over the next four to five years Garrett had been working out an idea that began as a result of that conversation with Denny and it wasn’t until a phone call with Joe Wells that it began to blossom. After explaining the idea to Joe, they were both brought in to what we now to to be the Excel Still More Bible Workshop. Immediately after the conversation, Garrett called Denny and then called one of his best friends Billy Clabaugh, to ask them if they would be involved, to which all would say yes!
As Garrett shared his vision with the group, ideas were shared, conversations took place, and the workshop truly began to form. With it the three power words of the workshop were set into place. LEARN, APPLY, and BUILD. It was simply entitled, the “LAB Technique.”
Established in 2019 the Excel Still More Bible Workshop began its journey. Our first workshop was to be over our theme which is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:1 & 10. We worked hard to develop the material, set up the venue, got registration opened, and then it happened! COVID! The world shut down and for a moment we had thought so did our workshop, but with a few conversations and some ideas we decided to take the workshop online, and we did. It was a beautiful thing, filmed through three different cell phones, some dark backgrounds, some light backgrounds, all different sound quality, from three different states, the videos were awesome! Well maybe not, but we got it done!
With over 80 in attendance our first workshop held on a private group page on Facebook was a success! Even though none of the books came in until after the workshop was over, we were able to get everyone the PDF version on time so they could follow along. Seventeen sessions later all were attentive, excited, and ready for the next one.
Over the next two years we studied 2 Thessalonians and James, both were wonderful studies that were held at a wonderful camp in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, Quartz Mountain Christian Camp. After the third workshop on James we were cleaning up and were about to go eat as a group when our wives all said they would like to eat at the lodge across the highway, which we did. As soon as we drove up to this resort we were amazed at how nice it was. Immediately we asked if they had ballrooms and if we could look around, to which they said yes and showed us everything. We were blown away and knew this was a move we needed to make.
In April of 2023 we held our first workshop at the Quartz Mountain Lodge. We added four special sessions with Michael Hite who taught the LOGOS Bible Software and it was a hit with over 100 people total for the workshop and its special sessions joining us for the weekend and our study on 1 Peter. Now our future plans are growing as we add more things to the workshop and expansion is in our future.
Why do we tell you all of this? It is because from a workshop in Durango, we have devoted ourselves to sharing what we were blessed with, so that many others can share in the same blessings we received in being able to understand God’s Word to the fullest by the work we put out and the study techniques that we teach. We believe in this work and we hope that you will come and join us soon!