A central element in reproducing disciples is Discovery Bible Study, which relies on the Holy Spirit’s readiness and ability to teach from His Word, rather than someone’s expertise in interpreting God’s Word for others. It lies at the heart of training people to hear God’s voice and obey all that Jesus commanded.
God designed us to relate to Himself directly and in groups—to talk with Him and hear from Him. Often an “expert” teacher suppresses this dynamic rather than facilitating it.
Too often our appreciation for great teachers and preachers has the opposite effect of what God intended; instead of equipping us to reproduce, we become dependent on them in a way that undermines our confidence and ability to lead others to God.
Discovery Bible Study is an essential tool for overcoming this tendency.
One veteran in international student ministry writes of Discovery study:
For the past 18 months we have trained students to “facilitate” Bible studies for seekers rather than “lead” them. Instead of becoming an expert to impart knowledge, they ask simple questions which depend on the Holy Spirit’s readiness to teach the non-believer from God’s Word.
I have seen the fruit and recommend this for any believer eager to get unsaved friends and relatives into God’s Word. It is great to see seekers receive powerful insights from the Word without being spoon-fed. And they will remember what they discover for themselves far longer than what they are told by me.
David Watson and his son Paul are the early pioneers and champions of the discovery approach, which has now grown into a large global network of movements and adaptations. From their rich experience the Watsons have just released Contagious Disciple-Making (December, 2014), distilling what they have learned over the years—not just about the core discovery process, but also how to work with God to start prayer and discipling movements. Their chapter on starting prayer movements is one of the most significant I have read.
As I pursue involvement in local outreach, I am coming to the conclusion that “facilitating discovery” is an even more urgent skill for mature believers to learn and master than personal evangelism, although that too is essential.
Learning to lead pre-believers and new believers into hearing God speak directly to them from His word will lead inevitably to growing effectiveness in personal evangelism. And this in turn empowers new believers to become immediately fruitful without the encumbrance of feeling they need to achieve some special state of knowledge before they can be effective in sharing their faith.
See also the Watson’s “book site,” which is packed with videos, book excerpts and other great information.
This is truly an important book.
Read (and vote for) my Amazon review.
I have worked out a deal the publisher to make this book available by the case (36 books) at 50% off ($7/book after tax), with free shipping.
I can also provide smaller quantities at a good discount.