Integral to every Bible Studies for Life session are five key questions. Using questions is more than just asking them and waiting. So…
1. Vary the way you open with a question. No group member (or leader) wants the group to start the same way week-after-week. So interchange the ways you start discussion:
- Write it –on a poster, a white board, or a napkin.
- Tweet it. Create a hashtag just for your group, or use the hashtags that are included in the material and on the app to join in the conversation with other groups all over the world.
- Text it.
- Let a member ask it.
- Create an experience that sparks the question subject; then discuss it.
- Start a Facebook discussion about it before class. Bible Studies for Life has its own Facebook page, and every week, the Introduction question for the upcoming session is posted.
- Start a Facebook discussion about it after class.
- Bring an object that illustrates it; then compare it to that object.
What other approach might you suggest?
2. Vary the people you discuss with.
- Discuss with the group.
- Discuss with a trio you know.
- Discuss with a trio you’ve not yet met.
- Discuss it with yourself—that is, think it through individually first. See more on this in Tip #3.
3. Give some time to think it through. Why? In any group, members discover who tends to answer first. Not only will some members let this person do the insight sharing; they might also agree too readily with what the initiator suggests. So contribute to a wider variety of ideas by giving your group a moment for each member to think that question through for himself or herself first.
4. Move things along. Good questions make you want to talk for days. But because the questions feed one another, and contribute to a total Bible study experience, time things to enjoy all five questions. The clocks at the top of each Leader page spread can help with this.
5. Let the Holy Spirit guide. We leaders feel an appropriate responsibility for our group to find biblical insights and applications. But there’s Someone even better than us at communicating transforming truth: the Holy Spirit.
What’s the best thing about questions? People love to talk, and through talking they learn how to live the Bible. So, delight in the process!
Karen Dockrey is the author of 30 books for families and Bible study leaders, including one with even more ideas for creative questioning and talk starters; The Youth Worker’s Guide to Creative Bible Study is available through LifeWay.com. Karen edits the Bible Studies for Life Adult materials.