How to Ask Great Questions in Small Groups – Brian Baker

You’re sitting there in your small group and you’re frustrated because either you cannot get your students to have a good conversation or you cannot get your conversation to important things. The key is the ability to ask good questions. Today on the podcast Brian goes in depth on how to ask deep questions that make your students think. But even greater than making them think is pulling out of them their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Join Brian as he speaks from over 20 years of ministry experience and hundreds of hours of small groups.

Takeaways from this episode

  • One of the key aspects of being a great small group leader is being able to ask great questions.
  • How will we ever know what are students are dealing with and thinking if we don’t ask them?
  • A lack of success comes down to a lack of communication.

Success in ministry does not come from a transfer of knowledge, but from a change in belief, which leads to a change in behavior.

Ask questions that empower your students:

“… an empowering question does more than covey respect for the person to whom it’s posed. It actually encourages that person’s development as a thinker and a problem solver, thereby delivering short term and long term value.” –Judith Ross

Seven ways that empowering questions create value:

  1. Create clarity
    • Ask for explanations
  2. Construct better mentor and peer relationships
    • Turn questions into life conversations
  3. Help think analytically
    • Ask questions that make students think
    • Don’t always give students the answers
  4. Inspire people to reflect and see things in fresh, unpredictable ways
    • Ask questions like “why did that work?”
  5. Encourage breakthrough thinking
    • Very few adults challenge students to think
    • Ask questions to students that help them change things up
  6. Challenge assumptions
    • Contest student’s preconceived ideas
  7. Create ownership of solutions
    • Ask them questions like “what do you need to do?” or “how can I help you?”
    • Give them options

Guide their application like a funnel:

  • First question – General summary
  • Second question – Gather information
  • Third question – Focus the lesson
  • Commitment – Ask them to commit to a change 


Article from Judith Ross –

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