By: Dianne Davis
I love hearing testimonies from people whose lives have been transformed through Discovering Christ, and I love sharing them when we have a training conference!
I often have future ChristLife leaders ask me, "How can we get testimonies like you shared for our parish?"
If you put together a bookshelf without following the instruction manual and found a spare piece of wood when you finished, would you trust it to function properly? Similarly, if you take the time to pray and plan for Discovering Christ without following the manual and leave out key pieces, do you believe it will be as fruitful as it can be?
If you want to see many lives transformed, my advice is to read the manual. Then read it again. And read it again every week prior to each session. Follow all the instructions we have provided. We created this guide for you!
We want your courses to be successful. We want you to bear much fruit for God's glory and we don't want you to worry about how to make it successful.
When we evangelize, we fully rely on God's help, but there are things we need to do in order to be genuine to the Discovering Christ course.
Over the years, a few parishes have called us and told us their courses didn't have the same results we have witnessed. As we talk to them more, we hear things such as:
- They forgot to play the video parable. (It is on a separate DVD and should be played right after the teaching on week 3.)
- They weren’t able to book a room the same night for the entire course, so they alternated nights each week. (We recommend you plan ahead and book the parish calendar with the same day of the week for 8 consecutive weeks plus the retreat day.)
- They didn't feel the team needed to be trained. (Yes they do! And everyone from hospitality, facilitators, helpers and technology should all be trained!)
We've even heard some parishes chose not to offer the Holy Spirit retreat the way we designed. I spoke with one pastor who didn't think his parishioners would be open to the prayer time. When he didn't hear of any testimonies, he realized he neglected an indispensable part of Discovering Christ! He ran the course again and followed the manual and the course exceeded his expectations! He had so many testimonies and he was really thrilled.
These tips and more are outlined in the Discovering Christ How to Run the Course guide.
The How to Run the Course Guide was prepared by ChristLife team members and experienced parish practitioners, all of whom run ChristLife at their parishes. We've been running Discovering Christ since 2007. Over the years, we've all tried new things to improve the course. Some things worked well and some… let's just say, didn't get the results we expected! But the bottom line is the How to Run the Course guide contains the best of the best tips from our experienced practitioners.
1. Give each core team member a copy of the How to Run the Course Guide.
You can read through it together as a group or have people read it individually and come back together to discuss how to implement each area. For example, your parish may decide to ask volunteers to prepare meals. You can browse some of our best recipes for easy bulk meals. Or get the meals catered if your parish has a budget for meals. The main point is that you need to provide a free meal for your guests! Please don't eliminate the dinner, because it's a vital part of Discovering Christ. This is the time people get to know one another. Week after week, they are building trust so that when it comes time for small group discussion, they feel comfortable opening up with each other. We also don't recommend changing people from one table to another or adding new guests after week three. All of this is shared in the manual.
2. Another area is training your team!
It's really important for your entire team to be trained. You may even want to have an additional training session for facilitators and helpers. You can play a Discovering Christ video for them and have small group discussion as a team. In addition to the Small Group Facilitator Guide, give them each a copy of the Small Group Situations download.
These are only a few of the things we cover in the How to Run the Course Guide. Our website also has a lot of information and is updated regularly.
We are confident that if you follow the manual and pray regularly, your courses will be successful! We are here for you if you need to talk with anyone on our team. Be assured of our prayers for you, too!