Discipleship by Storytelling and Group Discussion

September 28, 2015 Blog

Jesus modeled a simple approach of teaching with His disciples. Jesus taught in parables. He kept it simple. He taught His disciples by using storytelling and group discussion. He would tell a parable and, when He was alone with His disciples, they would discuss the story that He told.

Storytelling and group discussions are the main teaching techniques in living the D-Life.


To follow the example of Jesus, we must keep our approach to teaching simple with our D-Group. In Mark 4, we see that Jesus main form of teaching with His disciples was through storytelling and group discussion.

Mark 4:1-2aAgain He began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables.

Mark 4:10And when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parables.

Mark 4:33-34 – With many such parables, He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to His own disciples He explained everything.

Parables are earthly stories that have spiritual meanings. Following the example of Jesus in our teaching, we must use the simple method of storytelling. Any committed believer can “teach” like Jesus by using stories.

In our D-Groups, our simple teaching plan is to story through the Bible. Every week someone in the group will “tell the story” or “paraphrase the passage” of the assigned verses to be studied.  The Bible story is not to be memorized, but simply told in one’s own words. Paraphrasing a passage is a bit more challenging, but involves sharing the truths of the passage in one’s own words.


Jesus used very simple techniques in teaching His disciples. In Mark 4:10, when Jesus was alone with His disciples, “the twelve asked Him about the parables.”

It’s reasonable to think that Jesus modeled simple techniques of discipleship so that the common men who followed Him could learn to disciple others. The twelve disciples were not highly educated or ultra spiritual men. They were ordinary men who made genuine commitments to follow Jesus. Jesus did not make discipleship too difficult for them to grasp. He set them up for success.

Any committed follower of Jesus can live the D-Life. It is important for us to keep the process simple so that all can obey Christ’s command to “make disciples.”

  • D-Life involves the simple technique of daily Bible reading.

Daily Bible reading is one of the most life-changing things anyone can do. Unfortunately, many believers don’t read the Bible daily.

In D-Life we have a very simple Bible reading plan. Our goal is to read one chapter a day of the New Testament five days a week. This goal is so simple there is NO EXCUSE for anyone not to achieve it.

This Bible reading goal is not only achievable, but also it is fruitful. By reading one chapter a day five days a week, we will read through the entire New Testament in one year. Also, by reading only one chapter a day, we can meditate on each chapter and find personal applications for our daily lives.

In the D-Life Web Site, the weekly Bible reading plan is found under “Study Guides.” There is a study guide for each week of the year.

  • D-Life involves the simple technique of finding practical applications from the Bible.

When Jesus was alone with His disciples, they discussed the meaning of His teachings and how to apply it to their lives. The goal of all Bible study is practical application.

In every D-Group, we use a simple acrostic to help us find practical applications from the Bible. This acrostic helps us to make SPACE in our hearts for God’s Word. D-Group leaders should teach this acrostic to each person in their groups.

As we read our daily chapter of the Bible, we should ask five questions. Is there a . . .

  • Sin to confess?
  • Promise to claim?
  • Attitude to change?
  • Command to obey?
  • Example to follow?

Using these five questions, every D-Group member is encouraged to write down one practical application from their Bible reading every day

In your weekly D-Group meetings, always ask each person if they have read all five chapters of their daily Bible reading assignments. You can also ask them to share some of the personal application points they have written down in their notebooks.


Mark 4:33-34 says, “With many such parables, He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to His own disciples He explained everything.”

When Jesus was alone with His disciples, they shared in group discussions where they would unwrap the meanings of His stories and teachings.

Likewise, the simple teaching method of D-Life is through guided group discussion. A D-Group Bible study leader is NOT a teacher. He or she is a facilitator. A facilitator does not lecture, but leads the class in a group discussion using the D-Group study guide.

In the D-Life Web Site, the weekly Bible study is found under “Study Guides.” There is a Bible study guide for every week of the year that comes from one of the chapters to be read during that week. There are four years worth of Bible studies that correspond to the D-Life Bible reading plan for that year.

The D-Life “Study Guides” provide a list of questions for the Bible study facilitator to use to lead the D-Group in a meaningful discussion of the Bible passage.

The D-Group weekly agenda should be as follows . . .

  • Fellowship Time (share coffee, a meal, or etc.)
  • Prayer Time (someone leads in meaningful prayer)
  • Accountability Time (ask the group about their daily Bible reading and to share some application points)
  • Story Time (someone tells the story or paraphrases the passage)
  • Bible Reading (someone reads the story or passage from the Bible)
  • Bible Study (someone facilitates the Bible study using the questions from the weekly study guide)
  • Ministry Planning (plan for the group’s next ministry project)
  • Weekly Appointments (who will pray, tell the story, read the passage, and facilitate next week)
  • Closing Prayer

After one member the D-Group tells the story, another will read the story from the Bible to see if anything was left out. The assigned facilitator will then lead the group in a meaningful share time of interactive Bible study. D-Group Bible study is all about group discussion.

By following the simple teaching techniques of Jesus as we lead our D-Groups, we will model a simple approach to teaching that is not only effective but is also reproducible. Anyone can lead a D-Group, because the gift of teaching is not required. Anyone can learn to facilitate the study, and this makes the possibilities of multiplying D-Groups endless.