D-Group Elements: Up, In, Out
Discovery Bible Study – A Big Step in the Disciple Making Journey
There are three elements of a D-Group, or “discovery Bible study”. Every group meeting should strive for keeping to the “one-third, one-third, one-third” principle: one third in worship/prayer/accountability/vision ( Up ), one third for discovery Bible study ( In ), and one third for praying for friends, family and neighbors and the nations (Out).
The Up, In, and Out is also sometimes referred to as Breathe out, Breathe In, and Open Your Eyes, based on John 20:19-23:
Breathe Out - speak out thanksgiving to God in very simple worship, speak out needs and confession, and speak out accountability
Breathe In - take in God's Word
Open Your Eyes - look outward to others who need to know God loves them
Every D-Group should be focused on reaching out to non-Christians. D-Groups are successful if they are reaching and making disciples among those who don't know Jesus. To get to the place where D-Groups are growing into new churches being planted among non-Christians, many, many D-Groups need to be started. Some D-Groups will fail. It is not unusual for a high percentage of D-Groups to stop functioning if new believers are not coming to faith or people are not following through with coming to the meeting and obeying what God says to them. Success is measured by obedience and multiplication.
Up - "Breathe Out" – Accountability, Worship, Prayer, Vision - This is the part of the group time for building community and experiencing loving fellowship. How? Through reporting how it went obeying what God said in the last D-Group, then praying for one another and worshipping together. It doesn’t matter if people are believers or not, lead by example into loving community by encouraging people to share needs and then lovingly praying for each other. As facilitative leader, model asking each other how they each person is doing. Take time to care for one another and turn that into body ministry and worship times. After meeting 3-4 times and leading the group, ask others to lead. Coach them behind the scenes how to do it, and then give them feedback later.
1. Is there anything you are thankful for you would like to share with the group? Let that lead to spontaneous worship through prayers of thanksgiving.
2. Is there a need you have that we can pray for? Pray for each other and see if someone in the group can meet the other person’s needs.
3. Follow up to last week’s meeting – how did it go sharing with the 3 people they prayed for and putting into practice what God said in Bible study, the “I will obey God by…” statements.
4. Share vision!! Why are we doing this this way? Model then coach others to grasp, then share the vision for the values of the discovery approach
In - "Breathe In" - Discovery Bible study – This is the part of the group time for learning from God’s word with interactive discussion around 4 simple steps: read, restate, reflect, report. There are two assumptions that are crucial to this part of the disciple making process: Holy Spirit is the best teacher – you can trust Him! And two, the Bible is the best source of truth to be taught. Let the Spirit do the teaching! Resist all temptations to go into teaching mode. It kills the possibility for people to hear the Spirit for themselves in the Word. Helpful questions: What does this passage teach us about God? About people? About ourselves?
Below is a 4 step process to discovery Bible study:
1. Read – One person read a passage – keep it a short passage if possible, or read a Bible story. Another wonderful way to do this is not to reach the passage, but for someone to tell the passage as a story, and then for each member to repeat the story until everyone knows it. allow 2 or maximum 3 minutes to tell the story. You can take a chapter in the Bible and turn it into a story! Or to be creative, ask people to act out the story.
2. Repeat - Someone repeat the story or passage in their own words. The rest of the group can add or fill in anything that was left out. (this protects the group from being taken over by one person or going off on a tangent).
3. Reflect- The group takes a few moments of silence to think about the passage (pray that people will hear God speaking to them, convicting them, encouraging them, and giving them revelation about who He is and His love for them). Reflection can focus on what they learn about God, or what they learn about people, or themselves, but it may be best to see if the group will not need those questions to simply hear god speak to them from the Bible passage.
4. Report – Ask each person to share one thing that stood out to them from the passage they think they could apply to their lives, ONE THING they should obey. We call this the "I will..." statement. For example, "I will obey God with his help by...."
Out - "Open Your Eyes" - Commitment to pray and obey - Commit to pray for others people in the group know who don’t know Jesus, and to obey the truth God spoke during the Bible study. This is the part of the group time to look outward by praying for 2-3 people who don’t know Jesus, and making a specific declaration of obedience, the "I will" obedience statement.
1. Ask the group to make a list of friends and family who don’t know Jesus personally.
2. Ask them to focus on 2-3 of the people they will pray for.
3. Ask everyone to bring their list each week and report back to the group how it went sharing with their 3 friends/family they prayed for.
4. Focus on obeying one thing God spoke in the Bible study time, and then when you meet back next week, in the first part of the meeting how it went speaking to friends and family about Jesus, and obeying the one thing God spoke to them.
Finally, each person rehearse what they learned and how they will share with others. Finish with an, "I will obey Jesus by..." restating what they will obey. Pray for a people group or neighborhood or nation that needs Jesus.