John King trains church planters in the use of inductive Bible studies called Discovery Bible Studies. This is proving to be an extremely effective church planting tool in many different cultures. I read his blog regularly.
The first part of this post, the story about how a group trained in this pattern has been able to multiply effectively, can be seen here.
The first week I had the twenty present to get into four groups of five and select a facilitator by identifying who had most recently gotten a speeding ticket. I called those four over to me, having them bring paper and pen. I gave them the 8 Questions . As I told them the questions that drive the discussion time, the rest of the participants were taking notes also. Then they returned to their groups and started the process.
Question 1—“What is something good that has happened in your life or the life of a loved one during the last week?” went fairly quickly.
Question 2—“What is a struggle or challenge you or a loved one is facing?” took more time. Since these ladies know each other pretty well, many were transparent. Little did we know that God was going to powerfully use one of these struggles!
One of the participants has cancer and has undergone multiple bone marrow transplants. She is on disability and receives food stamps. She had received a letter saying her food stamp allotment had been miscalculated. The state needed to recover almost $1,000.00 from her that had been over-paid. How could she make it while they recovered such a large amount?
Question 8—“Which of the struggles could you as a group help with by developing a plan?” set them on the course of trying to raise money. The next week the larger group was informed of the need and asked to contribute as they were able. Our motivation was increased as we were informed that someone who heard about the need agreed to match whatever was given. Almost $600.00 was deposited in their “God box!” With the match the complete need, with some to spare, was met in one week.
The passage studied in that first Discovery Bible Study was Ephesians 1:1-14. In verse 3 we read, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Their text for the second week (when the “God box” was used) was Ephesians 3:14-21. Here Paul praises God as the one “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (v. 20).
This group of ladies took the training and began living it immediately. They started inviting other friends to go through the same texts in the same way as had been done in their groups of five. Some passed on the training to the ones who were unable to attend that first week. Others trained their husbands and children and now their family devotional times are following the format. One of those families has a son who is on a travelling soccer team. The mom excitedly mentioned what she had been learning to the other soccer moms and now they plan to do a Discovery Bible Study whenever they are at practices and between games.
What happens when the format is simple and straightforward? What happens when everyone hears from God’s Word and shares what they are hearing? What happens when people begin obeying what they hear God calling them to do? They get to “taste and see that the Lord is good!”