Summary: Small group leaders and facilitators usually want to get good discussions going, but they often are frustrated. In this free online study, you will learn ten "open-ended" questions that will help you get group members involved in discussions.

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Ten Questions to Prompt Small Group Discussions

Get people involved by asking these "open-ended" questions

(c) 2006 by Doug Britton, LMFT (Permission granted to print for personal use)

The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. (Proverbs 20:5)

Introduction — The importance of good questions

Do you ever feel at a loss when trying to get a group discussion going? There's nothing much more frustrating for a small group leader or facilitator than when a group falls silent and lets the leader do all the talking.

The success of a small group meeting depends on the ability of the leader to get good discussions going. The more actively people are involved in talking about something they are studying, the more impact it will have on their lives.

There are many things leaders and facilitators can do to promote discussions, such as praying for God's Holy Spirit to lead them, creating a comfortable environment and asking good questions. In this online study, we will focus on asking good questions.

In the gospels, we see that Jesus' words were designed to get people to think and to evaluate their own hearts. We can do the same thing.

(Note: This study is adapted from the Marriage by the Book Group Leader's Guide.)

Ask open-ended questions

A key way to get group members involved in discussions is to ask "open-ended" questions, ones that cannot be answered by one word (such as "yes" or "no").

Examples of "closed-ended" questions. These two questions can actually cut off discussions since they can be answered with silence or one word.
"Do any of these points apply to you?"

"Does anyone have any comments?"

Ten open-ended questions that can get good discussions going

1. "Which of the five points we just discussed most applies to you? Why?"

2. "What do you think about that?"

3. "How does this section affect you?"

4. "What did you learn from this study?"

5. "What is one box you checked? Why?"

6. "Which of these points do you need to work on?"

7. "How does the memory verse relate to the chapter and to your life?"

8. "Which point in this chapter spoke to you the most?"

9. "Does anyone disagree with a point in this chapter? If so, why?"

10. "What was your favorite part about this lesson? Why?"

Personal application

Which of these questions will help you lead or facilitate your small group?

Click below for more Bible-based small group resources

• Online Bible studies on small groups, cell groups, and home fellowship groups
• Marriage by the Book Group Leader's Guide

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Bible translation: Unless otherwise indicated, Bible verses are from the New International Version (1984 edition).