The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
- Proverbs 20:5
Asking good questions helps facilitate more than just a group discussion. A well-placed question can lead people to self-discovery and personal reflection. Good questions cause people to think, take ownership, and respond.
Good leaders are intentional with the types of questions they ask and in the ways they ask them. Asking thoughtful questions is essential to relational care and connection, engaging people in meaningful discussion, and promoting life application.
There are 3 types of questions every Growth Group leader should be prepared to ask.
Open-Ended Questions. These can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Because this isn’t one right answer, open-ended questions help people to feel comfortable sharing and cast a wide net of responses. Open-ended questions create relational connection.
Examples. What was the best part of your week? What are 3 things you are grateful to God for today? What’s an area of your spiritual life you want to grow in this year?
- Keep these questions fresh. Using the same check-in question every week to start your group or to begin discussion time leads to stale responses and predictable answers.
- Ask an open-ended question to engage someone who’s generally more reserved, ask them directly. ‘Amy, would love to hear about the best part of your week?'
Heart Questions. These are questions that help people move past their behavior to consider the thoughts and feelings that motivate their behavior. Heart questions promote self-reflection and spiritual/emotional awareness.
Examples. What were you hoping for? What about that situation makes you fearful? What is the root cause?
- It’s necessary to give space for people to respond to these questions. Be creative to give people time to think, reflect, and respond.
- Heart questions are great to ask in follow-up. ‘What were you feeling when you responded like that?’ or ‘What causes you to worry?’
Application Questions. These questions go from information to application and help people to discern specific next steps. They facilitate accountability, support, and personal ownership.
Examples. How can you best honor God through your response? What’s one takeaway you had from our time in God’s Word? What can you take responsibility for moving forward?
- An application question is a great way to wrap up a discussion and maximize participation - “Let’s all share one thing we can apply this week from our time tonight.”
- Be sure to follow up on application questions from previous weeks to check in and support one another through the next steps. Share this responsibility with the group.
Challenge: Put into Practice in your Group this Week
- Prepare 2 open-ended questions you’ve never used before to start discussion time.
- Ask at least 1 follow-up question that leads someone to consider the heart motive behind their behavior.
- Plan an application question to wrap up the discussion and follow up on answers during the week.