Three Questions to Revolutionize Small Groups and Minivans

by Mark Entzminger/ August 23, 2018

What if we could help every small group leader, every spiritual leader in the home, and anyone who is interested in making a lasting impact on the next generation with just three strategic questions?

Once mastered, you can find ways to incorporate Bible-centric, faith-building conversations into everyday life with your children in small groups and minivans.

1. How is this like or unlike…?

For this question to work you’ll need to have a shared experience. It could be an activity you create, media you experience together, or just a conversation about school. You then craft that shared experience into the question and tie it to a spiritual principle.

Recently at a kids camp we asked the small group leaders to complete a mad-libs activity with the campers. During this time they were to fill in specific blanks with words, without knowing how they fit into the full story. After reading the humorous story the discussion began. One of the questions used was, “How was filling in blanks of a story you didn’t fully know like or unlike trusting in God no matter what?”

This higher level of questions is used to help kids begin to process faith-oriented questions on a higher level than simply asking questions like, “What was your favorite part of the story we created?”

Imagine a minivan conversation where your child shares about a classmate in need in which they shared some food. Could you respond with a discussion question like, “How is meeting your friend’s need like or unlike how Jesus responds to our needs?”

The sky is only limited by your focus and creative ways of tying the shared experience to a related faith conversation.

2. In what ways do you see God revealed?

This question is best used after reading a passage of Scripture together. But with some experience it can also be applied to shared experiences.

What I love about this question as it pertains to reading Bible stories is it helps people put the focus of the story where it should be—on God.

Imagine the standard questions that follow the story of David and Goliath:

  1. How many rocks did David pick up?
  2. How tall was Goliath?
  3. What was Goliath yelling to the children of Israel?
  4. Why did David not want to wear Saul’s armor?

These are the perfect staring point for a discussion, but to really make an impact the question level should grow.

Now compare that to using this new question in our toolkit: In what ways did you see God revealed in the story of David and Goliath?

After the kids share their insights you can follow up with the question; Do you believe God will continue to work in that way in your life too?

3. Now how do we respond?

The goal of any ministry opportunity is heart transformation. While the questions above relate to higher levels of learning, understanding of faith, and our relationship with God, this next question puts feet into action.

Consider the following examples:

  • Now that you better understand God, how can you better respond to Him?
  • Now that you’ve explored God’s promises from this passage, what might you change?
  • Now that we’ve discussed God’s nature more, what will you do next time…?

This style of questionioning allows every child in the group to consider a response, not just those who are dealing with a specific issue related to something you mentioned. The needs are varied in our children, so this style of questioning gives greater opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move.

The effectiveness of small groups is based on relationships and trust. But often the questions we ask can help open people up or simply fill time. My hope is that with these three questions you will see the depth of discussion time grow over time.

What are some of your “go-to” questions you use for small groups?