Last year, Chloe was excited to see Mary start a new Discovery Group with her unbelieving friends. However, they didn't expect that Mary's DBS would encounter hardship and that Chloe would get hit with COVID-19. Here's the story of how they responded to failure and disappointment, and how God blessed their faithfulness.
Sometimes Discovery Bible Studies Fail
In August 2020, I shared the story of how Mary, an unbeliever in a closed country, began a Discovery Group with several of her friends. Mary took the role of facilitating the group and led the discussion questions in the local language. Things were going well!
However, over the next few months, the other participants in the Discovery Group grew increasingly disinterested. Shortly thereafter, the Discovery Group flopped. Mary and I were discouraged.
How I Responded to Failure & Discouragement
Not long after, I contracted COVID-19. While bedridden in quarantine, I had a significant amount of time to pray and grow my prayer network. Mary and her failed Discovery Group lingered in my mind and I realized I had no faith in the group's growth. Then I realized, "I should be asking people for prayer!"
During an online prayer meeting focusing on prayer for specific lost people, I thought, "Well, let's just pray for Mary!" I asked my team to pray for Mary and that God would resurrect her Discovery Group.
God Always Answers Prayer
That week, Mary messaged me. As we started chatting, Mary said, "I'm so thankful to know you. My friends are telling me I've become such a kind person. I've been telling them it's because I met you!"
Though flattered, I wanted Mary to know that I wasn't responsible for changing her life. God transformed her through His Word.
"Well," I replied, "remember what we were doing when we were talking with each other? We were reading stories from the Bible and helping each other follow it! That is how I become a kind person."
"Yeah! That really helped me too!" Mary agreed.
"You know," I continued, "I would really love to read those stories again with you!"
"I would like that," Mary replied, "but actually, I don't know the guys from our original Discovery Group very well. I always felt shy about being in the group."
I had no idea. I had assumed that Mary and the others were already friends.
"I can invite my friends though!" Marry offered. I was elated!
A New Discovery Group Began
Mary invited the friends with whom she had been sharing the Bible stories every week. Three friends agreed, and now Mary and I meet with them regularly.
Though they're not yet believers, they are obeying the Word in practical ways and faithfully sharing the stories with their friends and family!
The first thing Chloe and Mary's story teaches us is that failure should be expected when making disciples. In the journey of finding those whom God has prepared to receive His Word, we are bound to invest in people who aren't ready yet.
However, this story also reveals how prayer is the best response to failure or discouragement. Not only did her DBS fail, but Chloe also came down with COVID-19. Nonetheless, Chloe redeemed the time God gave her in quarantine to devote herself to prayer. She even took it a step further and mobilized others to pray for her and the lost. God honored those prayers in a powerful way. Click here to hear a podcast on Helping Others Pray for Your Disciple Making Efforts.
Lastly, Chloe learned the valuable lesson that you should let unbelievers decide who joins the Discovery Group. In the original group, Chloe unintentionally gathered people who didn't actually know each other. This kept Mary from comfortably sharing and participating. Once Mary invited her own friends, they formed a new Discovery Group that is stronger and fruitful!