[As I mentioned in my previous post, we're focusing this week on the skill of asking good questions. Today and Friday, we have a two-part post by Mark Shull, the Director of Men's Groups at Buckhead Church. It's all about the different ways we can use questions to help our group members think about, process, and own their faith journeys. —Ed.] The idea of asking questions instead of always offering answers seems simple, right? It's easy to understand, but challenging to practice . . . especially when something difficult or controversial comes up in group. Asking good questions takes practice as well as an understanding of what makes a question good and what type of question to ask depending on what you're trying to accomplish.
Today and Friday, I'll to give you seven types of questions you can use in group. I'll also break down when and why to use them. Here are the first three:
1. Launching These are open questions used to kick off a discussion. They're particularly helpful in setting the tone of a conversation and drawing all of your group members into the discussion.
Example: What are some ways other people's words have hurt you?
2. Clarifying These questions help guide your group toward accumulated facts by urging them to define, clarify, explain, or compare and contrast. Clarifying questions are particularly useful for bringing the group back on topic when they've begun to stray. They do so by prompting group members to think about the main topic in a new way.
Example: Can we back up for a second? What was going through your mind when he said that to you?
3. Follow-Up These questions draw the entire group into a discussion after a single member has answered a question or expressed an opinion. Follow-up questions are great for helping group members connect through shared experiences or emotions.
Example: That's really powerful. Thank you for sharing. Has anyone else ever experienced something like that?
Using launching, clarifying, and following-up questions requires intentionality and a little practice. But making the effort can free your group discussions from routine and help the people you lead to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
I'll be back at the end of the week with four more types of questions to ask in group.