Updated: Apr 10
There is power in prayer and practical obedience
This is a continuation of Trevor and Ivan's story. Trevor's long-term friendship with Ivan led them to start a DBS. Read below to see just how much God can do when we obey Him!
Reading Scripture On-The-Go
This past week, Ivan and I met up for our first DBS. I printed out the first passage in the Creation to Christ Scripture list, Genesis 1, on sheets of paper for us to read as we went on our walk. We planned the DBS two weeks prior but didn't plan the specifics. So, I brought the Genesis passage without knowing what would happen.
When we got together, I said, "Hey, I brought this passage with me, and it's up to you, but would you like to read this together?"
Ivan smiled. "Of course—that's what we're going to do!"
Before we dove into the DBS, Ivan told me about a friend named Boris he visited that week who was suffering from cancer. "Trevor, I told Boris about you. I told him that I have a friend who is a Christian and I know he prays. I told Boris I'd ask you to pray for him!"
I prayed for Boris right there. Then, I asked, "What did Boris think about that?"
"He was so excited and happy to know someone was praying for him!" Ivan exclaimed. I was overjoyed. Boris sounds like the perfect person with whom Ivan can share the Bible stories.
I Didn't Settle for Vague Obedience Statements
We did our first DBS on the Genesis passage. Though somewhat familiar with the story, he made some good observations. However, it got interesting when we reached the "I Will" statement part of the DBS. It must have been God's timing because we passed by a man as we were talking about obeying the passage.
"I know that guy," Ivan whispered. "I used to not get along with him very well. But after reading this passage, if everyone is made in God's image, then everyone has value and worth. And, if that's true, I need to treat people differently."
I nudged Ivan to make his "I will" statement more practical and doable.
Ivan pondered. "Last week, I got a call from this family that always wants me to do time-consuming favors for them. I will never get paid and it always ends up being a headache. And, I always tell them no. However, for some reason, this time I agreed to help."
"...And knowing now that everyone has value as God's creation, I will continue to help this family, whether or not I receive anything in return!"
Then, I asked him with whom he could share the story. "Can I keep this paper with the Bible story? I want to read this story with my wife." I was excited to hear this because his wife is from a Catholic background but also likely very far from God.
As we parted ways, Ivan said, "Next week—next story!" I didn't even have to ask—Ivan really wants to meet again!
Prayer Fueled All My Progress
The root of my success with Ivan is prayer. Between the 30 friends on my prayer calendar, the CDM prayer page of 700 people, weekly CDM prayer calls, a personal prayer page of 30 people, and my missionary prayer team, I have absolutely covered Ivan in prayer. I keep everyone updated as God answers prayer!
The lessons we glean from stories like Trevor and Ivan's are not necessarily new, but they are helpful reminders for core Disciple Making Movement principles. The first of these is that it is important to get "I will" obedience statements right. If Trevor had settled for Ivan's initial answer, Ivan would never have been drawn to meaningfully impact the family in need with his obedience. To learn more about the kinds of "I Will" Statements you should avoid, listen to our latest podcast. Next, obedience truly blesses others. Trevor's obedience to God in befriending Ivan, praying for him, and following up on the DBS led to wonderful fruit in Ivan's life. Ivan's obedience to God's Word means a family will be helped with their needs. Lastly, we've said this before and we'll say it again—prayer is the indispensable building block of disciple-making. Trevor didn't slack in regards to prayer—he had hundreds praying for him regularly—and those prayers made a world of a difference. Mobilizing prayer also encourages the people praying for you to take their own steps of obedience!
Podcast: "I Will" Statements That Will Ruin Your DBS
"I will" obedience statements can make or break your DBS. The difference between being a convert and a disciple is obedience. Here are some applications people often give that can be detrimental to a fruitful Discovery Group, and how to respond to them!