A great question is a hook or vehicle to lead to deeper discovery of truth and relationship. These questions tend to be open-ended and intentional, not random or shallow.
Great questions combined with intentional listening opens the door to:
- Discover the hearts of our people
- Discover where they are in their spiritual maturity.
- Discover what they believe and what their world view is.
We have identified two obstacles that get in the way of asking great questions:
1. Personal Obstacles
- Your heart is in the wrong place to engage the person.
- You are not a good listener.
- Feeling insecure about answering the question yourself.
- Feeling inadequate on what questions to ask.
- Fear the discussion may go the wrong direction.
- You like to teach vs. facilitate. (talk at vs. talk with)
- Afraid of silence.
Which of the above do you relate to? Why?
2. Corporate Obstacles
Along with having to face the obstacles just mentioned, many of you have run into obstacles of feeling boxed in by the questions the curriculum or book asks.
- Feeling you are not allowed to branch outside the questions printed in the curriculum. Feeling the questions are closed ended or may lead to dead end discussions.
- Feeling you can ask better questions.
- You don’t understand the “why” behind the questions given.
Which of these do you relate to? Why?
3. Working around Obstacles
Obstacles are not barriers or stop signs but rather opportunities to create, innovate and grow.
- Pray for God to use you and speak through your questions.
- Have freedom to write you own questions.
- If the question you ask isn’t understood, ask it differently.
- Let your question sit with silence if need be. Good questions require thought.
- Know where you are going with the question you ask.
Benefits of asking great questions...
Following Jesus’ model. Jesus asked nearly 100 questions in the Gospels. Here are three invitational questions he asked to initiate dialogue. Once the discussion is started there is a great opportunity to discover and learn something about someone.
WHAT DO YOU WANT? (JOHN 1:38)
WHY WERE YOU SEARCHING FOR ME? (LUKE 2:49)
WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU? (MARK 10:36, 51)
- Less talk by the leader is better for participation and further discussion.
- Open ended questions help create relational environments for personal discovery.
Here are two example of open-ended questions Jesus used.
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THE SON OF MAN IS? (MATTHEW 16:13)
WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD LIKE? (LUKE 13:18)
- Everybody gets involved – creates participants, not spectators.
- Reaches heart issues – takes you from the head to the heart.
- Builds humility and overcomes inadequacy.
- How can you improve your question asking? (Hint: practice with friends or family)
- How can you improve your intentional listening? (See Listening Lessons)
- What will you do to ask better questions?