It’s hard to ask good questions durning small group or Bible study.
I think it’s even harder to write good questions. However, this is an essential youth ministry skill if we want to empower other leaders to make the most of their group time with teenagers. Here are a few ideas for writing good questions:
1. Write conversationally, avoid being too formal.
I feel it’s important to write questions that your leaders can translate into their own language. Great dialog flows naturally, and reading a question out of a lesson guide can short circuit conversation. Formal writing makes it difficult for a leader to personalize. (on the other hand: writing conversationally isn’t a license to be unclear!)
2. Read your questions out loud.
It’s ok if you feel a little silly, you’ll get over it when you come up with better questions. It’s also helpful to imagine you’re having a conversation with a real student, you will find your questions making more sense.
3. Write open questions, but not too open.
An open question allows students to come up with more than just the one “right” answer.
Yes/No questions are conversation killers, especially when they aren’t followed up with “why.” Here’s a self-test: If none of your student’s answers surprise you, then your questions were probably too narrow in scope.
Having a question that’s too open ended will generate dialog, but it won’t go anywhere. If you just want conversations to happen, talk about sports, celeb gossip, or TV. If you want your questions to lead to life change, they need to have an end in mind.
4. Challenge assumptions.
Anything you can do to shake foundations and create confusion is good. I’m not saying you ought to destroy a person’s faith, but spiritual growth happens when we lay down our way of thinking and choose God’s way of thinking.
5. Shorter is better: to get there, focus on principles.
Yes: there are lots of really complex spiritual truths…I have found that most of the complexity comes in application, not in understanding the universals. Helping a student understand the universal equips him or her to think for themselves and own their own faith.
YES: we can become so abstract that we’re not practical. We ARE teaching students to obey Jesus, but we ARE ALSO teaching them to live faithfully without us spoon feeding them a spiritual To-Do list each week.
What’s missing from this post? Sound off in the comments below and make it a better article!