Guest post by John King: Keep It Reproducible (part two)

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!”

 

Guest post by John King: Keep It Reproducible (part one)

John
John King trains indigenous church planters to teach others to do
simple inductive Bible studies.  This approach has been used
throughout sub-Saharan Africa and has contributed to the planting of
thousands of new churches there. His blog can be found at:
http://johnkking.wordpress.com/

I asked John to write this guest post to help people to understand Discovery Bible Studies, which are a pattern being used to start churches in many parts of the world. I recommend checking out his blog, especially the post on the 8 Questions  to understand it further.

 

Little did I know what could happen in four weeks?

The new team that I work with recognized we need intercessors. One member was convinced he knew the perfect couple and he recruited them. After seeking God’s heart, they agreed. As they explored how we have been blessed to catalyze reproductive movements, the wife expressed interest in how to facilitate Discovery Bible Studies.

This lady has been leading a group of women for years. Their weekly gatherings range from twenty to thirty-five in number. Some have come to the group out of a recovery ministry that recognized they needed love, support and mentoring from mature Christian women. Here’s what the group leader wrote me about this group:

Let me give you a little info about this awesome group of ladies God has put together. About 70% are single, several with children. We have many Mary Magdalenes who have experienced the grace of God in wondrous portions. About half have no church background. The other half has come out of a strong legalistic background. I tell them I sometimes think it takes more grace to change a “self-righteous person” than an “unrighteous person.” Somehow God has taken the lies of both and shown us the beauty of new life through Jesus and the full salvation that is ours through the blood covenant of the New Testament and a strong family has emerged.

We have had two groups birthed from us in the last year. One is another ladies group that meets during the day. The other is in the local workhouse. A lady that came to our group 3 years ago from a life of addiction and all that goes with it, including lots of jail time, now leads a 10 week women’s study to women who are sitting where she has been.

They have been a discipleship group (without calling it that) for quite a while. My job was to equip them in sharing what they already know with others. Their biggest challenge is that their existing group is hard to recreate because it is dependent upon an older, strong, mature “Mamabear” matriarch to lead.

I was informed the group will have a retreat two weeks after our last session. Their theme is “Reigning in Life” concentrating on the “inheritance of the saints…here on earth.” I selected texts from Ephesians that fit this theme, holding their interest, and giving them good experiences in discovery.

When I shared this with “Mamabear” she replied, “Oh, now I’m excited. Ephesians is one of my favorite books!!!!”

For weeks I struggled to identify the passages, but had real peace when I saw this. The Wednesday before I started training them, they read Ephesians in their gathering time. The well was primed!

The second part of this post will appear on Wednesday