Disciples who make disciples

Part 1: Starting Your First Discovery Bible Study Group

A.     Introduction

B.      Leading your first Discovery Bible Study

C.      Scripture Series for Two Years

D.     Resources

A.   Introduction

The church and the world are changing. In this volatile and challenging context, the call of Jesus to be and make disciples who exhibit the gracious, life-transforming reign of God is needed perhaps more than ever.

This booklet is a resource for those who wish to strengthen personal, joyful, life-long Kingdom impact to the glory of God.

The booklet is designed to be lived out. By this I mean it is intended to be practical and engaging, personally and in our relationships, just as the teaching of Jesus is on which it is based. It is intended to help us be more purposeful disciples of Jesus and to help others grow in being vital, transformed and transforming disciples of Jesus, permeating culture and society as leaven transforms its host.

This booklet uses language to communicate vital concepts, recognizing the concepts can be communicated in other terms, in some cases terms with which the reader may be more comfortable, particularly as language changes over time. For this reason, the author encourages you to translate the terms you feel require it, to make the concepts meaningful and engaging in your personal context (church, business, academia, sport, relational network).

The progression is designed to enable you to implement each chapter before completing the book. In each case the chapter which follows is intended to offer a new step of opportunity and increased fruitfulness. The joy of the process Jesus introduces is that this Kingdom growth has no end of potential, scope, and joy.

B.   Leading your first Discovery Bible Study

One of the beauties of discovery bible study (DBS)[1] is its simplicity. The small group process is so simple anyone can lead it. Participants grow in confidence, as no special training is needed since the facilitator does not answer questions but only asks them. This in turn enables new groups to be formed easily in time by others in the group who see the simple process modeled. Go ahead, try it, perhaps with a friend or two.

By the way, "Discovery Bible Study" isn't the only term that fits. You could also call the group "Circle of Hope" or "Finding Faith" or "Following Jesus" or "Becoming Whole" - depending in part on what your friends are like :-)

Small Group Process

Begin with a simple prayer, asking the Lord's presence and guidance.

(You may wish to pray yourself. In a following session you may want to invite another person and then others to welcome the Lord’s presence.)

1. RECONNECT (Looking back)

What are you thankful for (or rejoicing in) today?

What challenge are you facing this week?

(These questions help build community and may become part of group prayer during the closing moments of the DBS as we give thanks and pray for one other facing the challenges and opportunities before us.)


Can someone summarize our passage from last time? How did God speak to you personally through it?

What did you learn as you sought to live out your "I will ..." statement last week?

With whom did you share how the Lord has been speaking to you? How did the person respond?

(Reviewing our experience since the last session cannot take place of course the first session, but subsequently provides opportunities to reflect on personal growth and response to the Lordship of Christ and guidance of the Holy Spirit.)

3. READ  (Look up to the Lord through the Scriptures)

Invite one or two people to read the new Scripture passage in different translations.

(Others can close their eyes and listen or read along.)


Can someone retell the story, or main points in this passage, in your own words?

Is there anything someone else would like to add?

(A retelling of the story or main points helps engage our minds and hearts. These oral reflections are a part of group learning and can be done with the Bible momentarily closed.)


What does this passage tell us about God, or Jesus? (What is God like?)

What does this passage tell us about people? (What do we learn about ourselves?)

What is God drawing you to pay attention to? (What do you sense God wanting to address or change in you?)

(These basic questions place the Scripture, rather than the group facilitator (who speaks as little as necessary), in the center as teacher as the Holy Spirit speaks to each person’s heart.)

6. REACT (Look forward to fruitfulness)

How can you put your learning into action? (Take a few moments as we are silent together to write your responses in your notebook.)

"I will ..."

(Our "I will" statement is a simple practical action we intend to take in response to the truth we sense the Lord drawing to our attention.)

(Sometimes it may be the Lord invites the group to respond to a need within your group or your community. If so, someone in the group can suggest a "We will..." statement. When completed, your group can ask the Lord for the way your group can serve together again.)


Who do you know who may well benefit from what the Lord is teaching you?

How will you share what the Lord is speaking into your life?

(Sharing something personal from your walk with the Lord is an authentic personal witness not dependent on written materials. Group participants can pray for people in their lives and be aware of those crossing their path with whom to share. If the person or group you share with express openness, you can offer to facilitate a DBS with them or invite them to your group, if the group is still small, i.e. under 8 people.)

As you conclude your time together, in invite participants to pray for one another personally... A good way is to ask each participant to pray for one other person in the circle, if they are comfortable doing so. Prayer can be for strength in the other person’s challenge, for blessing on their "I will..." statement, and for the Lord's grace on their lives...

This simple process can be used in your own daily quiet time with the Lord, in helping your family grow in the Lord, in an existing small group in your church or, most significantly, with people who are not yet followers of Christ.

The Bible is a book with many pages and passages of various kinds. How should one begin? Which passages would be good to reflect on next? The next section makes some suggestions.

C.   Scripture Series for Two Years

Jesus says something interesting and significant about the parable of the sower (Mark 4) suggesting it to be key to understanding much of his teaching (v.17). For this reason, I like to begin with this passage.

Then what?

If you lead a congregation, you may have your own set of passages or be following a lectionary. Alternatively, the Bible is rich with options and the following are only suggestions and could be explored in almost any order. The passages which follow, if a group met weekly, would guide the group for two years. During that time, it is likely the group will have started other groups. These groups can then also pick topics at their own pace.

Jesus Calls Disciples to Make Disciples

The Call of Jesus' First Disciples (Matt 4:18-22)

Parable of the Four Soils (Mark 4:13-20)

Sending of the 12 (Luke 9:1-6 / Matt 10:5-16)

Sending of the 72 (Luke 10:1-12)

The Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20)

Paul's Final Word to His Disciple (2 Tim 2:1-10)

Jesus' “I AM’s” in Gospel of John

John 1:1-18 (Word of God)

John 6: 27-40 (Bread of Life)

John 8: 1-12 (Light of the World)

John 10: 1-18 (Good Shepherd)

John 11: 1-44 (Resurrection and Life)

John 14: 1-20 (True Living Way)

John 15:1-17 (Vine who makes Fruitful)


Following Jesus

In Prayer:
God answers prayer (Acts 12:5-19)
Don't be anxious (Philippians 4:4-9)
Prayer brings wisdom (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Jesus teaches prayer” (Matthew 6:5-15)
Persevering in prayer (Matthew 7:7-11)
In Obedience:
Love and obedience (John 14:15-21)
True disciples obey (Matthew 7:21-29)
Obedience when we think we know better (2 Kings 5:1-19)
The story of two sons (Matthew 21:28-32)
Hearing and doing (James 1:19-27)

In Serving:
Jesus teaches about serving others (Mark 10:35-45)
Jesus serves (John 13:1-17)
Serving strangers (Luke 11:30-37)
Woman serves (Mark 14:1-9)
What counts in the end (Matthew 25:32-46)
In Generosity:
Encounter with Jesus changes attitude to money (Luke 19:1-10)
Do not be controlled by money (Luke 12:22-34)
Giving to advance the mission of Christ (Phil 4:10-20)
Giving when we have not (Luke 21:1-4)
Giving as sowing (2 Corinthians 9:1-9)
In Bringing Others to Jesus:
People meet Jesus because others introduce them (John 1:35-50)
Where is God already at work (Acts 8:26-40)
If no one tells, who will hear (Romans 10:9-17)
Gentiles hear the good news (Acts 10:9-48)
Boldness in the face of opposition (Acts 5:17-42)


Our Anchor in Days of Trouble and Anxiety

Who is greater than worry? (Matt 6: 19-34)

With Jesus in the storm (Mark 4:35-41)

The demand to bow to the godless (Daniel 3)

Daniel in the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6)

Walking by faith and not by sight (Heb 11:1-12:3)


Stories of Forgiveness and Hope:

A Disreputable Woman Anoints Jesus. (Luke 7:36-50)

The Pharisee and Tax Collector. (Luke 18:9-17)

The Rich Young Ruler. (Luke 18:18-30)

The Merciful King. (Matthew 18:21-35)

Christ Crucified: Two Responses. (Luke 23:32-49)

Jesus’ Resurrection Appearance. (Luke 24:33-53)

The Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32)


God's Promises

Salvation for Everyone Who Calls - Acts 2:17-21; John 6:35-40

Faithful to Forgive - 1 John 1:5-10

With You Always and Everywhere - Joshua 1:1-9; Matthew 28:16-20

Steadfast Love - Romans 8:35-39; Psalm 103:17

Ears Attentive to the Cries of His Children - Psalm 86:5-8; Psalm 34:15

Every Need Supplied - Matthew 6:25-33

A Present Help - Psalm 46:1-11

Strength in Weakness - Isaiah 40:26-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9

Slow to Anger - Psalm 103:1-18

Everything for Good - Romans 8:18-30

Walking with us in Trials...to the Reward - 2 Corinthians 4:1-17

Life Forever- Revelation 21:1-26 


Story of the Bible - Creation to Redemption

God Creates Genesis 1:1-25

God Creates Man and Woman Genesis 2:4-24

Man and Woman Eat the Fruit Genesis 3:1-13

God’s Responds to Sin Genesis 3:14-24

God Regrets His Creation Genesis 6:5-8

God Saves Noah and His Family Genesis 6:9-8:14

God’s Covenant with Noah Genesis 8:15-9:17

God’s Covenant with Abram Genesis 12:1-8, 15:1-6, 17:1-7

Abraham Gives His Son as an Offering Genesis 22:1-19

God Spares His People Exodus 12:1-28

The Commands of God Exodus 20:1-21

The Sin Offering Leviticus 4:1-35

God’s Righteous Servant Isaiah 53

Jesus is Born Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-20

Jesus is Baptized Matthew 3; John 1:29-34

Jesus is Tested Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus and the Religious Leader John 3:1-21

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman John 4:1-26, 39-42

Jesus and the Paralyzed Man Luke 5:17-26

Jesus Calms the Storm Mark 4:35-41

Jesus and the Man with Evil Spirits Mark 5:1-20

Jesus Raises a Man from the Dead John 11:1-44

Jesus Talks about His Betrayal and the Covenant Matthew 26:17-30

Jesus is Betrayed and Faces Trial John 18:1-19:16

Jesus is Crucified Luke 23:32-56

Jesus is Resurrected Luke 24:1-35

Jesus Appears to the Disciples and Ascends to Heaven Luke 24:36-53

Enter into the Kingdom God John 3:1-21


Parables of the Kingdom

Growing till the End - Matthew 13:24-33

The Value of the Kingdom - Matt 13:44-46

The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37

The Lost Sheep and Coin – Luke 15:4-10

The Lost Son – Luke 15:11-32

The Ten Young Women – Matthew 25:1-13


Salvation Now and Always

Effects of sin are everywhere – Romans 3:9-20

Jesus is the Way – John 14:1-9

Trusting Christ – Romans 10:6-13

Entrance into the Kingdom – John 3:1-17

Salvation into Eternity - Revelation 22:1-1


D.   Resources

Would an app on your phone be helpful?

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.discoverapp&hl=en_CA&gl=US

Introducing Disciple Making Movements to Others:

Short videos (4 minutes each): 

Basic concept of disciple making movements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYSaxAdUqMY

A story of "strawberry runners" extending to bring blessing to many: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JCWml-cQ2o

Why is all this important?

An introduction to the World Evangelical Alliance's Decade of Discipleship downloadable here: www.murraymoerman.com/2mission/disciple/Disciple-making.%20God's%20Strategy%20for%20Worldwide%20Mortal%20Combat.pdf

[1] Discovery Bible Study has become a common term among Christians. In some settings where the Bible is not recognized as Scripture, followers of Christ have used the term Faith Circle, or Circle of Hope. The name of the discovery process is less important than the life transforming process.