Even if you do get it right and your lectures are interesting, stimulating, funny and life-changing, there is still a problem.

It does not create community. It does not allow us to get to know one another.

Church is not just about getting to know God and learning to live the Christian life individually and privately. It is not just about a vertical relationship with God. It is also about a horizontal relationship with one another. Lectures don’t help us do that much. Conversations do.

The truth is, we need both lecture and conversations. But we get lecture in the worship service. We get lecture in the sermon. Group time is about relationship building. It is about community. Discussion based teaching helps us do that.

David Francis, head of Sunday School for Lifeway Christian Resources, told me that according to their research, in most churches Sunday School is not a small group time at all. It is a mid-sized group time. It is a stand-and-deliver-a-lecture time. It is sit-in-straight-rows-and-listen-to-a-talk. It is mini-sermon time.

If this is true, it follows that many believers have never really experienced group life. They have experienced sit-in-straight-rows-and-listen-to-a-lecture, but they have not experienced group life. They have not experienced one another life. The skillful use of good questions helps us create group life.

Relationships are about conversations. Good questions create conversations. Good questions make class interesting. Good questions stimulate life-change. Good questions create community.


From Good Questions Have Small Groups Talking: the book.