I start every lesson with a life exposure question. Here are three reasons why

They get everyone talking.

I often encourage groups to engage in a question and answer style of teaching, rather than a lecture style. Sometimes, people object. Their objections go something like this. “But our group doesn’t talk. They don’t like talking. They like hearing me talk. They are a listening kind of group and I am a lecturing kind of teacher. We are a match made in heaven. I talk. They listen.”Or, sometimes people will say, “I tried to get my group talking; they just didn’t want to open up. It was awkward.”

Here is what I have found. If you can get everyone’s mouth open in the first part of the hour, it goes a long way toward creating a discussion during the rest of the hour. Sometimes, you get their mouths open and you can’t get them shut, but that is a topic for another day. Life-exposure questions get groups talking.

They create connections

I have seen it happen a million times. We ask a question like, “Share your name and where you were born.” Someone says, “I am Bob and I was born in Baltimore.” Some shy person from across the room will say, “No way! I was born in Baltimore. Aren’t the crabs the best there?” “Absolutely, best crabs on the eastern shore. What is your favorite crab place?” About this time you might have to encourage the group to continue this crab conversation after class.

Over time, these little connections turn a group of strangers into a group of friends. It doesn’t happen in a day. It doesn’t happen in a week, but, week after week, layer upon layer, this kind of experience creates a groupness. It creates a bond, a sense that we know each other and love each other and know one another’s stories

We feel connected.

They allow everyone to participate

When we get into the Bible study itself, some will be hesitant to participate. Perhaps they don’t know very much, or they are just especially sensitive about being wrong. For a hundred reasons, it is difficult to get 100% participation during the Bible study time itself, although we push in that direction. But, during this time, everyone can participate. Everyone may not know the meaning of the word perdition, but everyone knows where they were born.

From Good Questions Have Small Groups Talking: the book.