How to Launch a DBS: Empower

This is the fourth post in a series on starting Discovery Bible Studies to share Jesus.
Start at the beginning.


Step 4: Empower

While the process of leading a discovery group is fairly simple, the process of being a good “coach” or facilitator can be challenging. It sometimes takes a colossal effort, as someone who is really good at the “game” of understanding God’s word, not to take the bat away from the little league players and hit the ball for them.

Remember that DBS’s are all about self-discovery. Resist the temptation to become the expert in the room: teaching, preaching, providing extra-Biblical references, or even referring to other scripture passages beyond what’s in front of you. Nothing shuts down a discussion faster than the feeling that one person has the answers. And besides, what we discover for ourselves usually carries a lot more weight and is far more meaningful and memorable than what another person tells or teaches us. 

When you commit to facilitate in this open way, you empower people in the group to personally grapple with the passage and give God’s Spirit more room to speak truth to the heart. Not giving all the answers doesn’t mean you have to be silent in the group. Just be careful not to contribute in ways that go beyond the text. Focus on the word, and let the word speak.  

In a discovery process, questions are one of your strongest allies. If what people are coming up with feels wildly “off-base,” you can ask, “Where do you see that in this passage?” And if participants mention ideas from other parts of scripture, bring them back by asking, “Do you mind if we keep to this particular scripture?” 

The discovery approach requires a willingness to give up control and trust God to be at work. Discovery Bible Study has a high view of the power and authority of the Bible to speak. God can work in power through the Bible to accomplish his redemptive purposes. A DBS is built on a conviction that the Spirit of God is at work in such a process, wooing people toward Jesus. That combination—word and Spirit—is irresistible. 

If possible, don’t lead the study yourself. Ideally the person of peace (who gathered others together) would facilitate the study within their group. Because this is such a simple process it is easy to learn. Teaching the person of peace to lead not only empowers them in the process, but is also one of the simplest ways to avoid being the expert in the room. This is their discovery process with God, not yours. Give it to God, and give it to your person of peace. 

Now that you’ve learned how to empower your group members to discover God for themselves, we’re going to show you how to empower them to make a big impact on others. We’ll get to that next time. Go the the next step.


Explore what the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit’s role.

  • Read John 16:7-15.

  • Ask, “What does this passage tell me about the work of the Holy Spirit?”

Dig In and Do It

Download the entire guide, "How to Launch a Discovery Bible Study," along with a DBS workbook and scripture list, in our free DBS Toolbox.