Relationships are crucial to lasting impact in youth ministry.
Conversations build relationships, and good questions create conversations.
That said, there are 3 types of questions we can ask students in our small groups:
"What do you see?"
These are simple questions that can be answered by looking at the passage being discussed. They help to get the group talking because the answers are pretty straight-forward. This kind of question can also be used to guide the discussion toward important points. They provide answers to the journalistic questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
"What do you think?"
These questions ask the students to think about their answer. They help the group to consider what is meant by the verses being discussed. This kind of question is slightly more personal than observation questions because it requires students to divulge what they're thinking, even though they might be way off-base. By the way, even if they are way off-base we should be sure to affirm their willingness to say what they think.
"How does this apply to you?"
These questions ask each student to look at their own lives to notice the ways they intersect with the text being discussed. Aim for specificity. Help them consider ways they can live out this lesson at home and at school. "Being thankful" is good. "Telling my parents thank you for paying for my cell phone bill every month" is better. This is the most personal kind of question because it asks students to go further than a general statement of assent; it asks them to offer something from their own lives.
Which kind of question stimulates the most discussion in your group?
Do You See What I See?
Different Methods for Different Students