Discovery in Doing Teaching – Group-led

What is a Discovery in Doing Group (DID)?

First, let me ask if you like games? Let’s begin with a quick word-association game.

Ready? Make this active with popcorn responses!

What is the first emotion that comes to mind when you hear the words school, teaching & learning?

Yes, be honest!

For me, learning has always come easy…until we went to Germany to learn German as missionaries. No openings were available in the basic course, so I jumped to the 2nd level since I learned well. In the first 15 minutes in the first class, we blew by every last bit of German I had learned. That semester was so threatening. I hope you feel my pain in those five words. I learned what it was like to come in each day and fail in a learning environment. Fortunately, the ten others in class were very embracing.

Many struggle to learn, maybe each school day similar to how I did in German class. They have lost hope that they can learn well. Finding joy in learning is beyond their imagination. Think with me.

Do you think the God who created us as lifelong life-learners created us to be educationally deformed?

I have a dream!

That one day words like fun and enjoyable, life-giving and passion, will be used when Christians think of studying the Bible. It’s how our Family-of-Three designed us.

How can we help learning?

Jesus has answers, so let’s start with Jesus. We get the earliest glimpse of Jesus learning in the temple when He was twelve.

How was Jesus learning as a young boy?

After three days [his parents] found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers
(Luke 2:46-47, emphasis).

Jesus was sitting in a group and listening with an open heart and mind, asking honest questions, and answering questions with understanding as an active learner. A strong desire to learn fuels growth. Luke sketches out this simple model for natural learning and teaching that Jesus practiced. Both listening in a group learning setting with understanding and mutually asking/answering questions are within the reach of each of us. And how does this stack up with what you and I have experienced in learning?

The only time we cannot learn is when we forfeit our listening hearts as lifelong life-learners. “I can’t” shuts our minds down and snuffs out creativity. “I wonder…” unlocks the latent, God-given abilities within and opens up possibilities as agile, adaptable disciples. A listening ear prepares an understanding mind and a responsive heart.

Look at the model of how children learn.

This begins to make more sense when we look at the most natural and rapid time of learning in our lives. When do most people learn like wildfire? Two-year olds are incredible. I have fourteen grandkids. It’s so fun to watch them. How do two-year olds learn? Jot down a few quick thoughts before reading on. Active-learning stimulates growth.

  • Life-related desires drive their learning (they learn to crawl because they want the toy just out of their reach).

  • Questions are such a normal and integral part of their young lives that we adults often get weary of answering… or even a bit irritated. “What’s dat, daddy?” “Why?” “How long till we get there?”

  • “Heh, Poppo, I know what! Let’s play…!” prefaces a learning opportunity initiated by one of my grandchildren. A sense of wonder and joy, of playful enthusiasm and innocent curiosity, characterize what they do.

Teachers, which of these traits apply to natural learning with the Bible?

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Jesus in Matthew 18:2, emphasis added).

Regarding learning, a child is characterized by ignorance and inability…and doesn’t even care! In strong contrast, adults do all we can to cover up our ignorance and inability. This shuts down our creativity and stifles learning.

“Each one teach one” by encouraging each member of the learning community to come as both a learner and as a teacher. Developing an open learning community means we treat others with kindness and dignity, we listen and inquire, we learn to consider the views and values of others.

Five Elements for a Fertile SmallGroup
From 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

These five elements cultivate a learning “soil” that is conducive to multiplying disciples and faith-communities when the resurrected life of Jesus is received by faith in Christ (see graphic).

1. Relational belonging (koinonia):

As we interact openly around the passage, we experience belonging, enjoying and having fun in the participative style. Community-learning and fun and joy are two of the four most powerful motivations for adult Bible learning.

2. Biblical responsiveness (koinonia):

Scripture as enlightened by the Spirit is central to the meeting. This is group-led with the Bible as authority, rather than by an expert teacher. God’s invitation to fuller life comes alive as we follow through on our “I will…” Discovery must move to obedience to release growth, becoming relevant to our everyday lives, a powerful motivation for adult learners. As we repeat this process each week, we gain competence to discover God’s truth personally, and this also motivates adult learners.

3. Intentional mutual-ministry (koinonia):

The Bible points to doing the Word as essential to learning (“DID” LifeChange). Doing builds on the rock, not the sand (Matt. 7:24-27). If we do not respond, we deceive ourselves (James 1:22). The disciple-making process happens through obedience (Matt. 28:19-20). “I will…” choices.

4. Intimate Worship:

What they are grateful for is a form of worship as we turn our hearts upward. Don’t ignore this great way to begin each group by lifting our hearts Godward. Celebrating changed lives together as we respond to Scripture is worship as a way of life, like Romans 12:1.

5. Compassionate Mission:

As each passes along one idea to one person and focuses on praying for community needs as they arise, this turns our hearts outward and prepares for more mission.

To “DiscipleMaking Companion.”