4 Vital Practices of Discovery Groups

Written by: Chris Galanos

You’ve found a potential Person of Peace and you’ve started a Discovery Group. Fantastic! Now what?

You begin to meet with the Person of Peace (and possibly another leader in the group) at least once a week to coach them.

Ideally you never attended the new Discovery Group and coached the PoP (Person of Peace) outside the group from the beginning. But if you did attend the group, hopefully you observed the 3 Week Principle which says you generally shouldn’t stay longer than the first 3 weeks or else the group can become dependent on you & view you as the teacher, leader or Bible answer person. This is dangerous because it will likely hinder the group from reproducing in the future. You learn more about this in the 12-Week DMM Training.

As you begin meeting with your Person of Peace each week for coaching, you’ll want to talk with them about 4 vital practices that should characterize their group.

Practice #1: Read
You want to make sure that the group is reading and responding to the Bible using the 7-Question DBS Process

Sometimes groups can spend so much time on the first two questions, “What are you thankful for in the past week?” and “What has challenged you or stressed you out over the past week?” that they never make it to the Bible reading. We want to encourage them to make reading and responding to the Bible a central practice of the group.

Here are some coaching questions you might ask your PoP:

  • Did your group read the Bible passage this past week & have everyone retell it in their own words?
  • Did your group follow the 7-Question DBS Process and ask each of the questions?
  • What Bible sequence is your group currently using? Have these passages been helpful to your group?
  • Are people engaging with the Bible passage and participating in the discussion?

Practice #2: Obey
Remember, DMM is obedience-based discipleship that sees disciples reproducing disciples, leaders reproducing leaders, churches reproducing churches, & movements reproducing movements.”

Question #6 in the 7-Question DBS Process is:

  • What should you do (or obey) this week in response to this passage?

This is the obedience question.

We don’t want to encourage the people in these groups to just be hearers of the Word and so deceive themselves (James 1:22). We want them to do it. We want them to put it into practice and obey it. And we want this for the group because this is what God wants for the group as he makes clear in the Bible!

As the group prepares to obey, we want them to be specific about what they sense God is leading them to do so we can keep them accountable in the next meeting. We will often encourage people to start off their response to Question #6 with, “This week, I will…” We call this an “I will…” statement which encourages DG members to come up with something specific that they can take action on and be held accountable for.

Examples would be:

  • I will call my friend Susan and apologize to her for the way I treated her last week.
  • I will spend 5 minutes praying each morning when I wake up this week.
  • I will take dinner to my neighbor on Tuesday who just got out of the hospital.

This is so important that if the group isn’t obeying the passage together, they need to keep repeating it each week until a majority of the group is obeying it. This is not knowledge-based discipleship. This is obedience-based discipleship.

Here are some coaching questions you might ask your PoP:

  • Did a majority of the group do their “I will…” statement from the previous week? If not, why not?
  • Did each person come up with an “I will…” statement for this coming week? If not, why not?
  • Are the “I will…” statements specific enough to be held accountable for the next week?
  • Do you believe the group is trying to obey the passages you are reading?
  • What are the challenges the group is having with obeying?
  • Do you talk about how important obedience is?
  • If a majority of the group is not obeying, are you still moving to the next passage or are you repeating the passage?
  • What are some of the ways people in the group obeyed the passage from the previous week?
  • Do you see people’s lives beginning to change?

Practice #3: Share
The “Share” question is Question #7 in the 7-Question DBS Process.

  • Who should you share with this week?

All of the questions are important, but if you want to see movement, Questions #6 and #7 are absolutely essential. And one of our friends in Africa who has seen a remarkable movement in his country told us no question is more important than #7.

You don’t get movements unless spiritual conversations are regularly happening with lost people. We want to encourage the lost people in these DGs to begin sharing what they are learning with their lost friends and family from the very first week. The Bible is God-breathed and it’s alive & powerful and we want to encourage everyone to regularly talk about it (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV, Hebrews 4:12).

Here are some coaching questions you might ask your PoP:

  • Did a majority of the group share this past week with the people they committed to share with? If not, why not?
  • Did a majority of the group pick someone to share with for this upcoming week? If not, why not?
  • Do you believe the group is making an effort to share with people each week?
  • What are the challenges the group is having with sharing?
  • How are the people responding that your group members are sharing with? Do they seem interested in learning more?

Practice #4: Start New Groups
This is SO important and this is what leads to generational growth! 

This practice must be in the DNA of every group. This is what causes 1st Generation groups to start 2nd Generation groups & 2nd Generation groups to start 3rd Generation groups & so on. 

Currently, we have one stream of groups that was started in the last year that is already down to the 5th generation because this practice is so ingrained in the DNA of the groups. In fact, I visited one of their groups last week & guess what was said right at the very beginning?

“In this group we read, obey, share, and start new groups.”

WOW! I immediately knew why these groups were getting rapid generational growth. These 4 practices were built into the DNA.

You may ask, “How do they start the new groups?”

It flows right out of Question #7. They are already sharing with people each week. While they’re sharing, they need to be looking for people who seem interested & might be willing to be a part of a new group.

Here’s a practical example of how it might look.

Matt is attending a 1st Generation DG where reading, obeying, sharing and starting new groups is in the DNA. The last 3 weeks he has shared what he learned in his 1st Generation DG with 3 guys he regularly plays Pickleball with. Matt found that with each guy he shared with, they seemed interested in what he was saying. They even asked him some questions about it and said they were encouraged by what he shared. In Week 4 of Matt’s 1st Generation DG, the group was talking about if anyone had seen opportunities to start new groups & Matt mentioned that his Pickleball friends had seemed interested in the stories he had shared with them. The group all encouraged Matt to approach them this next week and see if they’d want to start their own DG & hear from God through his Word. That week Matt asked his friends if they wanted to start a DG & they all agreed. They decided that they would do it each week after they finished playing Pickleball. They had their first meeting the following week and a 2nd Generation group was born.

Here are some coaching questions you might ask your PoP:

  • Has your group started any new groups this past week?
  • Are you reminding the group each week that we should be aiming to start new groups?
  • Did you hear anyone in the group tell how they shared with someone this past week that seemed interested or encouraged by what they were saying? Did you ask them if they thought a group could eventually be started with that person and some others?
  • Are you allowing other people to facilitate the 7-Question DBS each week so that each person feels confident they could lead a group on their own?
  • What are the challenges to starting new groups?

These 4 practices are VITAL if we want to see our Discovery Groups become disciples of Jesus who make other disciples of Jesus, also known as, generational growth.

I’ll post a portion of a picture below from Lesson #8 of our DMM Training where you see these principles illustrated. I’ll save the whole picture for Lesson #8 when you take the training, but I wanted you to see where this comes from. When Stan took us through the training, he went through this whole chart with us & explained how we would “coach” people at each stage of the cycle. You’ll see here what the primary training/coaching piece is when a group gets started. FYI – C2C stands for Creation to Christ which is a sequence of Scripture passages that gives someone an overview of the Biblical story.

Read. Obey. Share. Start New Groups.

Ingrain those 4 practices in the DNA of all of your groups if you want to see generational growth that could lead to movement!