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How to Lead a Discovery Bible Study

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

Experience DBS for yourself

Discovery Bible Study is the engine of disciple making movements. It's a tool that teaches believers how to fish rather than giving them a fish. By combining discovery based learning, obedience based discipleship, and simple, reproducible questions DBS has spread across the globe leading to nearly 500,000 simple churches within the past generation. It's truly miraculous how God is using this tool to call His people back to him.

I received that call when I took part in a discipleship cohort that used DBS for training. I saw DBS put into practice by empty nesters, high schoolers, former muslims, stay at home moms, and campus students in Germany. It worked in each of their circumstances and it worked in mine. I found myself taking more steps within three months of this spiritual formation than I had taken in the previous three years. It was transformative. The teaching was simple, usually just a passage of scripture less than one page, but the DBS method required every member of the cohort to put into practice what they learned from God and come back to share with the group next week. This was done in the same learning style that Jesus used in training the apostles. I began to see the Word of God lived out faithfully by my cohort, each one planting the gospel within their context, each one learning by doing.

Our local church is now in a season of breaking into Discovery Groups for our Sunday morning gathering, with the goal to train each member in DBS facilitation. Teaching and preaching are powerful and beneficial for many groups, but in this season of DBS our church is experiencing God and one another like we never have before. Some weeks we take leaps of faith and other weeks we move forward just an inch. We celebrate every inch that gets us closer to Jesus.

I encourage you to experience this joy for yourself. Don't just listen to the teaching, but do what it says to align your life with God's will. Discover these principles for yourself and pray for the Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment in adapting them to your own context.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” - James‬ ‭1:22-25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What is a Discovery Bible Study?

Watch the intro video below and download the accompanying "Facilitation Tips" PDF to learn more.

DBS Facilitation Tips
Download PDF • 2.23MB

How to lead a DBS

Watch the second video below on the habits and principles baked into the DNA of each DBS question. Remember that you are facilitating people to experience and discover God. He is drawing people to himself. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach and lead the discovery through His word.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.” - John‬ ‭6:44-45‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Download the accompanying "DBS Pricniples and Advice" PDF to learn more.

DBS Principles and Advice
Download PDF • 152KB

Facilitation and Principles

Watch the third video below explaining the philosophy behind DBS principles and how to become more effective in facilitating. Remember that we are calling people to lovingly obey King Jesus and making disicples of him, not disciples of ourselves.

“If you love me, keep my commands. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. ” - John‬ ‭14:15, 21, 23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Download the "DBS Bookmark" PDF for a print friendly handout.

DBS Bookmark
Download PDF • 146KB

Passage Lists

After being trained in DBS, everyone's first question is "Which Bible verses do I apply this to?" While you could apply it to any section of the Bible, it is good to be strategic in matching the appropriate scripture with your audience. Hindus and Muslims have found great success in beginning in the Old Testament and taking twenty or so weeks to learn the Bible from creation to Christ. Amongst prison and migrant populations in the US, stories of hope from the gospel have rapidly reproduced disciple makers. For churches pursuing maturity and training of members, the Pauline epistles have proved helpful. Over time, disciple makers have experimented and calibrated lists of passages around the globe for effectiveness. Below are lists of common DBS passages arranged according to different study topics. Feel free to download the "DBS Passage Lists" PDF below.

Discovery Passage Lists
Download PDF • 62KB

Check back here as we will continually update this blog with more passage lists and instructional videos!


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