Soon after Ellen and I moved to India twelve years ago, we started hearing reports of the rapid spread of church plants in India. In order to learn more about what God was doing, I picked up the book CONTAGIOUS DISCIPLE MAKING by David Watson. There were a number of important things I learn from this book, but one thing stood out to me in particular:
A simple, reproducible approach to small groups called Discover Bible Study (DBS) was playing a significant role in the rapid multiplication of simple churches in many different parts of India.
The basic idea of a DBS is to pick a series of short passages that are important to the group you are leading. For example a series of passages called Creation to Christ has been very effective among Hindus and Muslims in India. It starts in Genesis with the creation and the fall and leads people into an introduction to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Then, instead of trying to teach people what they should learn from the passage, invite them to DISCOVER what Jesus is saying to them by asking a series of four or five simple questions. You can vary the questions based on what fits your group and the passages you are studying.
Here are the questions that I have found helpful:
- (Read through the story two or three times out loud) “What does it say?”
- “In your own words, what part of this story speaks most powerfully to you?”
- “What does Jesus want you to do in order to put this story into practice in your life?”
- “Who does Jesus want you to share this story with this week?”
Note: After the first week, be sure to ask questions that encourage people to follow through with what Jesus was speaking to them the previous week
- How did you put last week’s story into action.
- Who did you share last week’s story with?
It’s easy to train someone to lead this kind of group because it’s so simple. The leader mostly just needs to learn how to follow the pattern that they have experienced. Since the same questions are used without a lot of variation, most people can learn to lead this kind of group in a very short period of time. That makes it very reproducible!