Skip to main content

How to Ask Questions

This was originally posted at groupleader.com


Many people have fear leading a small group. Some are afraid that they don’t know enough. Others have a fear of being the lead person in a group. Small groups are not designed for a leader to be a lecturer, but simply a facilitator. In order to facilitate a small group, one of the keys to success is knowing how to ask questions.

The small group the facilitator’s role is to start conversations. Most small group studies have a leader’s guide so questions are already in print for them to read. When there is no leader’s guide, simply knowing how to ask questions can get the conversations going.

Questions need to provoke thought. Questions with a simple yes or no answer do not open up conversations. Ask questions that allow someone to comment. Once those details are out in the open, the leader is able to move to other questions from that response or introduce another question that may be related to the previous answer.

Always ask questions so that everyone in the group can relate to them. Usually most people have the same questions on their minds, but they don’t want to be seen as the only one with that question. Word questions to the entire group and try not to target one person in the group. When the leader uses their own experiences as a starter is not only helpful, but also shows transparence to the group.

Once a question is out on the table, do not be afraid of silence. Many times silence is seen as awkward and leaders are in too much of a hurry to break the silence. Leaders must give people time to think about their answers and understand that someone else will soon feel too awkward about the silence to allow it to continue. If the leader feels comfortable enough he or she can call on someone to answer. I recommend that this be done as asking for a favor, more than a command.

Lastly, be gentle in your requests. When a leader prompts for an answer, he will be more likely to get someone to answer if they see their answer as being performed as a favor to the group or as helpful from the experience they have. The leader should not press, but can push a bit if he knows that this person has some experiences that the others do not.

Remember, having all the answers is not the key to being a successful leader. One just needs to put the questions out on the table for the group to answer. Getting your group to talk is easy. Getting them to talk about what you want just takes a little prompting when you know how to ask the questions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discussion Questions for Easter

Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
Ask other people, “What do you hope to accomplish in the next several years of your life?”
Tell your class that today you’ll be talking about “life mission” or the one most important thing you do that drives everything else. Tell them that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining moment in history, so it should be the defining moment in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. How does the resurrection impact some of the crucial beliefs of Christianity? 
How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection? How would you be different without the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
If you had been a friend of Jesus when he was on earth, how would the resurrection have impacted your life? 
How do you think his followers then were effected by the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. What do you t…

20 Questions to Build Group Connections

Here is a great exercise for a new group. The instructions are pretty simple. Go around the group giving each person the opportunity to choose one question and answer it honestly. Anyone can follow-up with an opinion or clarifying question (no critiquing each other's answers, though). Once a question has been answered, no one else may answer that question.

If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

As the leader, pay attention to the conversation. Let the discussion run its course as this is how people in the group build their relationships with one another. You can use these questions, modify them or create your own.


21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to hous…