What is God Doing?
David Watson went to the largest unreached people group in India in 1988. After 100 years of mission work, there were less than 1,000 believers in this group of 80 million people. Following traditional methods resulted in six of his workers being killed in the first 18 months. David retreated to Singapore and spent the next six months asking God to show him from the Bible how to do missions. He re-entered India with a fresh approach:
- Go slow inorder to go fast
- Focus on the few to reach the many
- Share only when and where people are ready to hear
David asked God to give him five people to work with - five people who would teach others. It took them two years to plant their first church. The next year they planted eight. After 12 years they had 40,000 churches and 2 million believers. He started them all with Discovery Bible Studies.
|Year||Number of Churches|
CityTeam International used the Discovery Bible Studies to start 3,800 churches in 37 months. They baptized 180,000 new Christians. Many of these live in highly Muslim communities. You can read the story in Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus by Jerry Trowsdale. Here is a picture showing how whole communities are coming to be baptized.
In four years Ricardo has helped start over 400 Discovery Bible Studies. He started the first generation groups, and they they started thr rest. Here is a map showing some of them:
In the past two years Bob has helped start two Discovery Bible Study groups in Sydney. One of these has already multiplied. He wants to help people start 20 more in Australia this year.
What is a Discovery Bible Study?
A Discovery Bible Study is a group of 3 to 8 people who are learning to:
- Care for each other
- Read a passage from the Bible
- Share what this one passage tells them about God and people
- Share what changes they want to make in their life as a result of reading the passage
- Meet needs of people outside their group
- Hold each other accountable for the decisions they make
Each time we get together we use the same questions to we make sure we cover each of these topics. We focus on only one of two Bible passages and limit our comments to what we find in these passages.
The next section is a Discovery Bible Study:
1. What are you thankful for this week?
2. What are you struggling with and how can we help?
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Read More
3. What stood out to you in this passage?
4. What does this passage tell us about God?
5. What does this passage tell us about people?
6. If this passage is true, what behaviour will you change this week?
7. With whom will you share what you learned this week? What will you share?
8. What needs can you meet in your community/network this week?
You have just experienced a Discovery Bible Study. We are looking for people who are willing to start a Discovery Bible Study group within the next few months. We will give you as much help as you need to be successful in:
- finding people for your group
- leading the study
- helping group members start their own groups
This will probably take you 1-2 hours a week.
You can hold your group online, over the phone or face-to-face.
9. Is this something you would like to do?
The Jews called Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Shema Yisreal because the first two words ("Hear and Obey"). It was the centerpice of the morning and evening prayer services.
Shema statements are statements, actions, and/or symbols that let others know that you love and obey God. They are ways of letting people know that we are spiritual people who are open to talking about spiritual things if people are open to it.
Make sure your Shema statements are easy for non-Christians to understand. Notice the difference between the first and second lines:
- "I received an anointing this weekend" vs
- "God gave me something special this weekend"
- "I learned a lot in church this Sunday" vs
- "I was challenged by what I heard and read on Sunday"
Here are some more ideas
10. Write two Shema statements that you might make to friends
11. What are some Shema statements you might make to people you meet for the first time? (This statement might be something you say to a person after you have visited for two or three minutes, or it might be your opening line.)
Before you can come to the next conversation you need to make Shema statements to three people. These can be people you already know or new people you meet. Write down their names and their response (if any) to what you say.
12. Is this something you are willing to do?