Home Youth Leaders Youth Leader How To's How to Get People Talking: 11 Tips for Asking Small-Group Questions

How to Get People Talking: 11 Tips for Asking Small-Group Questions

More Tips for How to Get People Talking

6. Ask awareness questions.

Awareness questions make students aware of a specific emotion or experience in a certain time period.

Example: What has God has been teaching you lately? Where are you most aware of God’s presence?

7. Ask divergent questions.

With divergent questions, the answers can go in many directions. Because there’s no good or wrong answer, students are more likely to share. Plus, more kids can answer the same question.

Examples: If you had no obligations, what would your perfect day be like? 

8. Ask questions that address head and heart.

Don’t ask for just knowledge. Bible knowledge is useless unless teens actually have a relationship with God and act it out. So make sure your questions address both head and heart.

Example of a “heart” question: How do you feel when you’re alone, talking to God?

9. Don’t ask obvious questions.

There’s a really cliché joke about a Sunday school student. When his teacher took the class outside to show them God’s creation, she pointed at a squirrel and asked what it was. No one answered. Finally, the boy raised his hand and said, “I know the answer’s supposed to be Jesus, but it sure looks like a squirrel to me.”

We all know the obvious questions, the ones with standard, cliché answers. Don’t ask those, unless you’re somehow interested in meaningless answers. Make your questions original, intriguing, and captivating.

10. Stimulate students to think by asking out-of-the-box questions.

Example: Why didn’t Jesus create some free time for Himself by setting “office hours” so people would come to him between 9 and 5?

11. Use silence.

Don’t be afraid of silence. I know, it can feel threatening. As a small-group leader, silence can make you sweat. But I took some journalism classes in college, and one of the most valuable things I learned in interviewing techniques was the use of silence. When people answer a question and you feel like there’s more or they’re not saying everything, just wait a few seconds. Most people will start talking again if you don’t.

Have you ever had a small group that was too quiet? What did you do? What type of questions do you recommend for how to get people talking in small groups?