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How to Ask Good Questions in a Group

Why ask questions? This is a good question indeed!

Questions provoke thinking and reflection. Good questions provoke good thinking and reflection. In a small group discussion context, we can ask good questions of the Bible text that we are exploring. We can further ask good questions of each other as we bridge applying the Bible to our world and our lives.  

Good questions set up a conducive environment for honest and robust discussion. Good questions lead to good conversations and when done sensitively, pave the way for deep, heart-felt and vulnerable sharing. 

Types of Questions 

Closed Questions  

  • tend to draw out a short focused answer e.g. “yes” or “no” in response to “did you…? Would you…?”  
  • are usually easy to answer, because the choice of answer is limited e.g. from a list of options such as “Would you like a,b, or c…?”  
  • can be useful early in group settings and conversations to encourage participation  
  • can be useful in info-finding situations e.g. “what is your name….? where did you stay when you were 7 years old?”  

Open Questions 

  • allow for wider responses  
  • lots of different types of open question; some are more closed than others!  
  • Might include questions to share about “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How….”  
  • Open questions can be “leading or loaded” pointing the respondent in a certain direction. Try asking in such a way that does not come across as having a pre-judgement (e.g. “How are you spending your free time lately?” vs “Tell us how you’ve been spending your free time.” ) 

Wide Open Questions 

“Any thoughts about….”  

To encourage your group to open up more authentically, we can also ask good questions to delve deeper into issues of our emotional well-being, our sense of meaning and significance, or our aspirations and dreams. Here are some examples you can try: 

  • What is important about this to you? 
  • What does this mean to you? 
  • What area of your life does this impact? 
  • How did that make you feel? 
  • What insights about yourself did you gain today?
  • What would you like to be different about your situation? 
  • What is significant to you about your insight? 

May God grant you wonderful conversations as you begin to ask good questions! 

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 5:13c-14
Sat, 25 June 2022

The “Peace and Patience” Frame

Observation:

What is the significance of Paul framing his exhortation with “be at peace” and “be patient”?

Deeper Reflection
PAUL IS SPEAKING TO BELIEVERS IN HIS EXHORTATION, See that no one repays anyone evil for evil” (1 Thess 5:15). These words point to a hard reality and a great temptation in the Christian community. The hard reality is, Christians do hurt one another, intentionally or unintentionally, by words, acts or attitudes. The great temptation is when we are offended and badly hurt, we hold a grudge until we are able to pay back the one who hurt us. Thus, Paul is particularly emphatic: “See that” – “Make sure that this does not happen!”We prevent the negative by practising the positive: “always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thess 5:15). The action called for in “do good” is “seek”. “Seek” speaks of conscious intentionality, proactiveness and effort. It takes a good heart to have this “seek to do good”. It is a matter of the heart: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good” (Lk 6:45). And this seeking to do good is “always” there in the good heart. Along with this is the readiness to forgive those who hurt us. The foundation and starting point of forgiveness is “as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32).“Be at peace among yourselves” and “be patient with them all” frame the constructive actions toward the “idle”, “weak” and “fainthearted”, and those who hurt us (vv.13c-14). “We have no excuse for becoming impatient” with such problematic people “on the grounds that they are difficult, demanding, disappointing, argumentative or rude”62. “Love is patient” (1 Cor 13:4). And peace and patience go hand in hand.
62 John R. W. Stott, Thessalonians, 122
Application:

What does it mean for me to be at peace and be patient with people in the Christian community?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for Church Board: To lead the church together in peace and with patience
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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