Yesterday we had a number of things we did here at the Vineyard. In addition to a rich time of singing some songs to the Lord, we took a few minutes to pray for and say “good bye” to our founding pastors, Steve and Maxine Igarta. The Igarta’s have sold their house here in Red Bluff and are moving to Portland, OR. It was beautiful to see so many people expressing appreciation for the Igarta’s.
For yesterday’s message, we had Alastair Rundle share a bit about Discovery Bible Studies (DBS). Who is Alastair? Great question!
God called Alastair in 1996, when he was 22 years old, to move from England to be a missionary in inner-city Los Angeles and Houston. He’s lived in the “hood” most of his life, got married there, raised kids there and LOVED being a father-figure to children and youth there. He understands discipleship from this paradigm, a disciple as someone who is a child of the Father…who’s crazy about them:) Two years ago he moved to Redding for a sabbatical and ended up staying there. He now equips congregations and ministry schools in simple and effective disciple making strategies… and he’s starting a food truck!
One of the reasons why I felt it would be helpful for us to hear from Alastair was due to our commitment to the Vineyard distinctive that everyone gets to play. The DBS is one practical tool that can help everyone get involved with talking about Jesus by discussing Scripture. You don’t need to be a professional or have been a Christian for twenty years. You could have just started following Jesus and engage in the practice of discovery.
The DBS model is based on what is found in Contagious Disciple Making: Leader Others on a Journey of Discovery (if you click that link, you’ll find a link to the kindle version, which is only $2.99 right now!). This model has been popular in Vineyard circles for the last three years and something that’s proven helpful for many people!
3 Reasons *YOU* Should Use the Discovery Bible Study
(1) DBS assumes the Holy Spirit is at work. Rather than you having to debate someone or convince someone by telling them a bunch of information, the DBS provides a context for people to experience the work of the Spirit through discovery. Conversations are the primary means where people learn about Jesus, and DBS creates space for those conversations around Scripture to take place. The Holy Spirit works in these conversations and helps people come to know the true Jesus of Scripture!
(2) DBS is easy. I know many people are overwhelmed by the Bible. This is one of the reasons why we’re going to host a 6 week class on understanding the Bible from April 12 until May 17 in addition to a class on DBS taught by Alastair. The beauty of DBS is that no-one is required to know everything about the Bible or have all of the answers. The DBS can take place just about anywhere and with the little bookmark we handed out, anyone can facilitate it! It’s practical and easy.
(3) DBS is reproducible. One of the great things about what’s happening in the world is that there are discipleship movements that are spreading rapidly. DBS is a large part of these movements and I think it’s largely because it’s easy to reproduce. So as we envision disciplining the city of Red Bluff, how are we going to do it? It has to be done by all of us and it has to be something that we can reproduce. Similar to Wimber’s 5-step prayer model, a tool developed to help everyone engage in praying for people, the Discover Bible Study is geared to empowering everyone to engage in conversations about God while reading Scripture.
Wow, I just absolutely loved how practical Alastair’s talk was! And I loved how amazing and inspiring that his “panel guests” were too! Good job, Callie, Amy & her son, and Monica! You all did so great!
So I’m starting these “Monday musings” because it seems like there’s never enough time to cover everything in our Sunday morning gatherings. I also want to provide links to resources that some of you may be interested in following up on. Plus, you can always post some questions below in the comments section and I can try and respond accordingly.
I also think this might be a good space to reflect on the previous Sunday’s events. Sometimes things are said or done on Sundays and, after some further thought, I want to make sure either there’s no misunderstandings or provide some clarifications on things I believe important.
With that, I want to make one clarification for us to think about.
It seems to me that in our quest to make things practical, we give the impression or buy into the idea that theology and doctrine don’t matter. Nothing can be further from the truth! DBS is not a replacement for theological reflection or the importance of good doctrine. Good theology actually nourishes the Church (1 Timothy 4:6) and promote a godly life (1 Tim. 6:3), to name just a few. Plus, Jesus stated that the first great commandment was to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). We should think to the glory of God.
So while DBS is a tool to help us all engage in conversations about Jesus, and no one has to be a specialist or professional theologian to participate in these conversations, it would be unhelpful to buy into an anti-intellectual approach to our faith. We need to have people who can provide scholarly answers to questions raised about the historical evidence supporting our view of Scripture or of the Resurrection. Biblical scholars can help us better understand the background and context of Scripture so that we can accurately understand it.
In other words, let’s never put being practical against being thoughtful. Both are important! Not everyone is called to be a biblical scholar, and that’s totally okay. But some people are and we should never minimize their value to the Church.
So let’s do all that we can to embrace practical tools to help us with our mission to know Jesus and make him known. And let’s celebrate that there are people out there who can help us understand the Bible and church history and all of the other things that many people have questions about!
If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to jump in below!