Why ask questions? This is a good question indeed!
Questions provoke thinking and reflection. Good questions provoke good thinking and reflection. In a small group discussion context, we can ask good questions of the Bible text that we are exploring. We can further ask good questions of each other as we bridge applying the Bible to our world and our lives.
Good questions set up a conducive environment for honest and robust discussion. Good questions lead to good conversations and when done sensitively, pave the way for deep, heart-felt and vulnerable sharing.
Types of Questions
- tend to draw out a short focused answer e.g. “yes” or “no” in response to “did you…? Would you…?”
- are usually easy to answer, because the choice of answer is limited e.g. from a list of options such as “Would you like a,b, or c…?”
- can be useful early in group settings and conversations to encourage participation
- can be useful in info-finding situations e.g. “what is your name….? where did you stay when you were 7 years old?”
- allow for wider responses
- lots of different types of open question; some are more closed than others!
- Might include questions to share about “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How….”
- Open questions can be “leading or loaded” pointing the respondent in a certain direction. Try asking in such a way that does not come across as having a pre-judgement (e.g. “How are you spending your free time lately?” vs “Tell us how you’ve been spending your free time.” )
Wide Open Questions
“Any thoughts about….”
To encourage your group to open up more authentically, we can also ask good questions to delve deeper into issues of our emotional well-being, our sense of meaning and significance, or our aspirations and dreams. Here are some examples you can try:
- What is important about this to you?
- What does this mean to you?
- What area of your life does this impact?
- How did that make you feel?
- What insights about yourself did you gain today?
- What would you like to be different about your situation?
- What is significant to you about your insight?
May God grant you wonderful conversations as you begin to ask good questions!