Hands down, my favorite thing about the Discovery Bible Study is the way everyone’s eyes light up when they get those incredible “aha” moments from God. Even for someone like me—who has been a follower of Jesus his entire adult life—receives incredible revelation. If you’ve never sat with a group of seekers unfamiliar with scripture and heard the fresh insights they share, you’re missing out. It’s exhilarating and enlightening. But even some of the best DBS groups can taper off and stop meeting. Sometimes it’s simply because the group isn’t ready for this step in their journey of faith, but other times the group simply loses momentum. In this article, we will share five simple things you can do right after the meeting to give your Discovery Group the best possible chance of maturing into a healthy Disciple Making Community.
DBS Follow Up
If there was just one thing to know about DBS follow up, it’s this: keep the lines of communication open! This includes communication with God through prayer, as well as with with your group. You’re going to want to send them messages to encourage them, schedule with them, help them, and remind them. Here’s the run-down on each of these helpful tips:
Step 1: Pray!
Even if you stick to the DBS strategy with no mistakes whatsoever, this doesn’t guarantee your friends will encounter Jesus and become disciples that multiply. The only thing that can ever really change peoples’ lives is the Spirit of God. So, give thanks to Him after each meeting, and ask Him to move powerfully. Some good strategies for this:
- Assign each member of your group to a day of the week and spend five minutes every day praying for whoever’s name comes up.
- Open the book of Psalms and allow them to lead your group in prayer.
- Choose one day or one meal to fast from. Take the time you would spend eating and spend it in prayer instead.
- Simply imagine what you would want someone praying for you if you were in their shoes and pray for that!
Step 2: Send an encouraging note to a member or two of the group.
Everyone loves to feel valued. And yet, it’s so rare for even close friends to articulate their admiration and appreciation for one another. It’s surprising how impactful it can be to just share a kind word or two simply because people don’t hear it that often. So, send a follow up message to a member of the group, encouraging them in some way. This will make them more likely to look forward to the next meeting. Perhaps they said something that made you feel like you grew in your faith. Maybe they were the host and you enjoyed their hospitality. Try to tell them something specific they did that reveals something good about their character. Tell them how it impacted you. Did they make you feel heard when you were sharing? Did they make you laugh with a comment or joke? Let them know about it.
Step 3: Make sure your group has the next date set.
While it’s always best to make a plan for the next meeting before everyone leaves group time, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Get started scheduling the next meeting as soon as possible so you’re not scrambling to do it right before the next meeting.
The easiest thing to do is simply ask the group if they can meet at the same time and day of the week. But if that isn’t possible, be the first to suggest a couple of dates. We find that in many groups, many people don’t feel comfortable speaking up first. So, it’s helpful if someone takes the initiative and offers a few dates. And don’t forget that in many cultures, group consensus might happen in different ways. Maybe you should send a message to the group and get everyone’s input about the best time, or perhaps you should personally call the Person of Peace for that group and plan with them, knowing that everyone else will agree to what that person has decided.
Step 4: Make plans to help group members with their goals.
Every DBS ends by challenging the group members to put something that they learned into practice. As we learn in the Disciple Making Course, this is an integral part of that person’s faith journey. People learn new values and worldviews by putting them into practice, not just by talking about them. Help them be successful by connecting with them after the meeting to see if you can help them accomplish their specific goal.
Suppose a seeker decides to spend 10 minutes in prayer every day that week. Call them up and invite them to come over and pray for a bit. This is especially powerful if you notice someone making a commitment to do something new or unfamiliar! Then, during your next meeting, encourage that person to share about their experience and celebrate them for putting their new mustard seed of faith into practice!
Step 5: Send a reminder message before the next meeting.
Even the most organized people forget things from time to time. So, don’t forget to send one last phone call or message to the group reminding them of the next meeting a day or two prior to the meeting. You might also offer to facilitate some help for the group. Try to organize who will bring food and drinks. Pair people who need a ride with others who drive. The key here is to facilitate. You want the group to take ownership of things for themselves, so it shouldn’t be you doing everything. But, if you can be the group’s biggest encourager and cheerleader, that can help it thrive.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be intimidating to give a Discovery Group the best chance to thrive. It’s as simple as keeping the lines of communication open through prayer, encouragement, scheduling, helping, and reminding. Curious about what a DBS is, anyway? Check out this article explaining the concept, and if you want to get your hands on an app that makes DBS so easy anyone can do it, click here to download Waha for free!