This is part one of a series on the Discovery Bible Study method. You can download the complete free guide to launching Discovery Bible Studies here.
Suppose you have been praying for people in your city or workplace. You have taken some risks and gotten into some conversations on spiritual topics. Perhaps you’ve gone one step further and connected with like-minded friends who are praying for the same things. Together, you all want to see Jesus making a difference in people’s lives.
So what do you do next?
How about inviting people to discover who God is through reading the Bible together?
Exploring what the Bible says in a small group is a simple next step for people who are curious about God but aren’t likely to look to the church down the street for answers. And a Discovery Bible Study (DBS, or sometimes just a “discovery group” for short) is a great way to do that. Discovery groups begin with a person of peace (a spiritual seeker) and include that person’s family, friends, or network of social relationships—whoever they can invite to explore with them.
A Discovery Bible Study is an opportunity for people to discover first-hand what the Bible says about God, about people, and what it means to follow Jesus. It’s a non-threatening way to start discipling someone even before they become a believer.
You don’t need to be a Bible or theology expert to launch an effective DBS. A DBS is based on the belief that God’s word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16) and that God’s Spirit is faithful to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). When you facilitate a DBS, you are essentially co-leading with God’s Spirit, who is the major player in guiding seekers toward Jesus.
Step 1: Invite and Gather
One of the biggest roles you, as a believer, have in this process, is inviting people in. If a Discovery Bible Study were a baseball game, you would be the coach, sending players onto the field. How do you do that?
First, you need to find out who has an interest in “playing the game”; we call these people persons of peace. A person of peace will be open to relationship and to talking with you about spiritual things. They will have a hunger for the things of God, be quick to share what they’re learning with others, and bring you into their network of relationships. People who are willing to have meaningful conversations about spiritual things and who display these characteristics are the ones you should invite to begin a Discovery Bible Study with you.
Once you’ve identified a potential person of peace you need to actually “make the ask.” Ask if they’d like to read the Bible together. If they say yes, encourage them to bring others along with them. This will make the process much more dynamic. Imagine a baseball game with only one hitter in the line-up. It’s not impossible for one player to hit a homerun, but the chances of making it all the way to home base go way up when you have a whole team alongside of you.
Here are some helpful questions you can use to invite someone into a discovery group:
What’s your religious background?
Where are you now in your interest in spiritual things?
Would you like to know more about this?
Who else do you know that has spiritual interests similar to yours?
Would you like to explore this together?
Where can I meet you?
Who else can you bring?
Once you have a group willing to discover more about Jesus, it’s time to launch your group. We’ll dig deeper into how to lead that process effectively step-by-step in the next posts. Go to step two.
Explore what the Bible says about recognizing a person of peace (spiritual seeker).
Read Luke 10:1-11.
Ask, “What does this passage tell me about what a person of peace is like?”
Explore what the Bible says about inviting and gathering.
Read John 1:40-42.
Ask, “What does this passage tell me about inviting others to meet Jesus?”
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.