One of the most important things you, as an SGL, need to master is the art of asking questions—of starting an authentic discussion among the few toddlers, children, or students you lead. It is important to create a small group culture that encourages discussion, which paves the way for a deeper understanding of God’s word.

Advantages of Asking Great Questions:

  • Allows your few to talk and you to listen
  • Leads to self-discovery and ownership of faith
  • Teaches your few how to think for themselves

Basic Guidelines to a Great Question:

  1. Avoid questions that can be answered with one word. Most often, those answers are: Yes, No, or Jesus. This is as far as your deep discussion will go.
  2. Don’t ask a question you couldn’t answer. This is not to say you have to answer all your own questions out loud. But know, if you had to, it is a question you would be able to answer. Chances are if you can’t answer the question in your head, you will be met with stumped expressions and the sound of crickets.
  3. Ask questions that are understandable and use everyday language. Try to be as clear and simple as possible. And because your few process differently, try to phrase the same thing a couple different ways.
  4. Don’t settle for the correct answers. When one of your few gives you a quick answer, press them to make sure they really believe what they just said. Don’t accept “fluff”.
  5. Repeat long answers with a quick summary. When one student talks for a long time, and is confusing, you’ll lose the rest of your group. To bring them back in, give a quick summary, or gently ask for one.

Asking great questions, and leading authentic discussion is an art. It requires skill. What are some skills you have used or seen used to keep a discussion going for your age group?

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Jeremy holds a B.A. in Communication from University of Minnesota as well as a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has a passion for connecting with and learning from student pastors, deliberatively researching, reading, and blogging about student ministry and family ministry, dabbling with online technology and experimenting in ministry lifestyle design and productivity in the church. Jeremy and his wife, Mikaela, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he serves as an Orange Specialist with the XP3 Student team.

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