Conversations That Go Somewhere

Uprising Episode 4

Episode Highlights

Asking great questions during small group is essential to healthy youth ministry.

Your questions will have SO much more impact than any lecture, knowledge, or wisdom that you give your students.

Kelly just learned this skill with her teenage sons: She tries to never give advice anymore. They don’t want it anyway. And if she asks the right questions, in the right way, they usually are lead in the direction she wants them to go anyway.

Become a master at asking great questions. And then become a master at asking follow up questions.

Why are questions so important?

  1. Lecture is impersonal, questions are personal. We learn in rows; we grow in circles. When you lecture or talk at a group of teens, you are speaking to many. A question is posed to an individual and tailored to his/her needs.
  2. Questions require everyone to be “active” – even if they aren’t answering, they are thinking. A lecture is passive.
  3. Teens are lectured ALL THE TIME – at school, home, church. Let’s be different. Let’s value what they have to say when no one else is.
  4. Good questions allow you to get to know your teens. This is essential if you are to speak truth into their lives. They must trust you first.

How do you ask great questions?

  1. Always know the bottom line. Where are you leading the discussion? What point do you want them to know and “get” by the end of SG time?  Prepare leaders with discussion questions. Ask them to know this ahead of time.
  2. Questions are written in a funnel (general, common ground moving toward a specific action step).
  3. Questions are a guide to a conversation. Don’t use them in a question-answer format.
  4. Reword questions. Never read verbatim. Make them yours. It should sound like a natural conversation, not reading questions. This is much easier with preparation.
  5. Be able to ask the same question in different ways. (Again, this comes from preparation.)
  6. Be okay with silence. 
  7. Never accept the first answer. 
  8. Never accept an answer from just one person. 
  9. Affirm responses. Don’t automatically go to what’s right or wrong. Be slow to correct incorrect answers. Let teens get there.
  10. Challenge easy answers or answers that are expected.
  11. SPEAK 20%, LISTEN 80%
  12. Be flexible. Come rabbit holes are worth it.
  13. Admit when you don’t know an answer and say you will get back to it later. Then don’t forget to get back to it!

Ask great follow up questions.
Never accept one word answers and never accept an answer from only one person. Instead, ask:

  1. What do you mean by that?
  2. Why do you think that?
  3. Say more about that.
  4. Give me an example of that.
  5. Ok great, who else can add to that?
  6. Does everyone agree?