Discover more about Discovery Groups

07.08.20 | Articles Resources Disciple-Making Discovery Groups by Anne Jordan

If you joined us for online worship this past Sunday, you saw Pastor David’s family model a Discovery Group. If you were away for the holiday, or want a refresher, click here to watch the video. Pastor Kevin also took people through the Discovery Group format at the outdoor worship service held on his lawn two weeks ago.

Whether you have been introduced to the concept of Discovery Groups in the past couple of months, or this is entirely new, DGs have become a key strategic tool in Oakdale’s Discipleship Path and our Wildly Important Goal of sending out 1,200 disciple-makers by December 31, 2022.

Many people are excited by the simple, repeatable process and have been asking staff: How can I/we be part of a Discovery Group? Are there groups that I/we can join right now or do I/we start our own group?

Ideally, we would like you to start your own group with un/de-churched family, friends, neighbors or co-workers, or workout buddies—people who already know one another but may not be believers. Note that while David “led” his family through the set of questions, he wasn’t the “leader” in the sense of being the teacher or Bible expert. Anyone can be a Discovery Group catalyst—including teenagers. The key is praying for the Holy Spirit to reveal who in your social circle is “spiritually hungry” and would be open to an invitation, and then allowing the Spirit to lead and teach all of you.

This is the approach that leads to generations of multiplying disciples, because you’re praying and helping them to become followers of Jesus—which makes you a disciple-maker!—and in their excitement and obedience to the Great Commission, these new disciples will quickly invite people from other parts of their circle of influence to start Discovery Groups.

Of course, we’re not going to tell people they can’t do this with a group of believers. It definitely helps people grow deeper in their faith, and especially in obedience to God’s Word. We want you to realize, though, that sometimes groups of believers can grow insular, fail to shift over time from being inward- to outward-focused, and are often reluctant to go out and invite others, especially non-believers, to join or start new Discovery Groups.

This pattern tends to lead—at best—to slow addition rather than the rapid reproduction (multiplication) of new disciples and new groups that can lead to a Disciple-Making Movement.

Either way, Oakdale’s role is to equip you to start a Discovery Group right away. We have resources to help you launch, and we are setting up monthly DG catalyst coaching groups to share successes, challenges, prayer and  encouragement with your peers. Even with restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen local and far-flung groups start on Zoom, as well as among families, friends and neighbors who are “safely” gathering together to read, obey and share God's Word.

More details about Discovery Groups are on our website, and I invite you to contact me with any questions you might have about being a DG catalyst.