Five Types Of Questions
by Mac Lake
Everyone has arrived at your home for Small
Group. Some are gathered in the kitchen, some in the den and others hanging
out in the living room. Your house is alive with chatter, people are
engaged in comfortable conversation, the rooms are filled with energy
and it’s obvious that everyone is glad to be there. You practically
have to drag them into the living room to start the study time because
they don’t want to break away from their conversations. Then as
you start the study time you notice a whole new dynamic. The energy is
gone, the people who were so chatty just moments ago suddenly have nothing
to say and you dredge your way through the study time feeling as if you
have bored them to tears.
How do you create dynamic discussion during your group study time? One
of the keys is using quality discussion questions. While most group leaders
use a guided
curriculum, you still have those times when the curriculum doesn’t provide
the best of questions. So as a facilitator, it is essential to understand what
makes a great discussion question.
There are 5 types of questions you will use as a group facilitator.
The first type of question is an Icebreaker question. These questions
introduce the topic by asking about personal experience or common human
experiences. They help create a relaxed atmosphere and are an easy
way for people to engage in the discussion. Icebreakers allow group
members to share something about themselves on a safe level.
• What was your biggest childhood fear?
• What was the most unique gift you were ever given?
• What is your best vacation memory?
The second type of question is an Observation question. Observation questions
help the group member identify what the text is saying. Asking this
type of question usually causes the group member to look back at the
to discover the answer.
• What was Jesus' audience like?
• When does Jesus say it is good to confront others with their faults?
• How does Paul describe the believers in Colossians 3:12?
• What are the action verbs in verses 4-7?
The third type of question is an Interpretation question. The purpose
of an Interpretation question is to discover what the text means. While
each passage has many applications, it only has one interpretation.
Interpretation questions cause the group to wrestle with the meaning
of a verse or passage.
• Why do you think Jesus told the healed man to “show but not to
• What do you think it means when Paul says we are “ambassadors for
• What does it mean when Peter writes, “be holy as God is holy?”
The fourth type of question is an Application question. Application questions
help the group members see how they can act on the principle they discovered
in the passage. Good Application questions will help people to think “What
should I do about this?”
• Which of the virtues from this passage do you need to work on the
• What can you do this week to set an example for others?
• Who could you encourage this week with a personal story of something
God has done for you?
The final type of question is a Follow-Up question. These are spontaneous
questions used by the facilitator to get clarification, amplification,
or illustration of a group member’s answer.
• "Sue, that is a great answer. Can you give us an example of what
you are talking about?"
• "That is great insight, Bob. What are some practical ways we can
apply that to our lives?"
• "That’s interesting. Explain what you mean?"
with and using the Five Types of Questions will help you put together a well
balanced study that will produce dynamic discussion.
Mac Lake. Seacoast Church. www.seacoast.org