good-questions-have-groups-talkingQuestion and answer is widely regarded as an effective way–if not the most effective way–to lead groups.

But, ever been in a bad discussion? Ever been in a really bad discussion? A discussion that was awkward and uncomfortable or predictable and boring or so tense you wanted to leave the room? There is a reason many teachers will retreat to the safety of lecture. Question and answer is unpredictable. We feel out of control.

Why do some questions spark lively and life-changing conversations, while others fall flat? That is what we seek to uncover in this book.

How do we ask questions that lead not only to an interesting discussion, but one that changes lives? How do we create conversations that create disciples?

Many teachers don’t know how to ask good questions. They ask questions that are too easy: “According to John 3.16, who died on the cross for your sins?” and they wonder why no one responds.

Or, they ask questions that are too difficult: Does anyone know what Calvin taught about this passage?

They ask questions that are too personal: What sins have you committed that you are ashamed of?

Or, questions that are not personal enough. They are bland, lifeless, and unconnected to reality.

People like to answer questions that are on the edge. They like to answer questions that are on the edge of their knowledge. They like to answer questions that they think they are the only one who has the answer to.

People like to answer (and hear answers about) questions that are on the edge of personal self-disclosure. Not too much or we get uncomfortable. But personal enough that it is real. Good questions get us to that edge.

People like to answer questions that connect to real life. Not theoretical stuff; real life. They like to talk about stuff that matters–stuff that matters to them in their world.

Asking good questions is more of an art than a science. I could (and do) write twenty or twenty-five questions that you could use in class to lead a lively discussion. But, to make the questions really sing, you need to understand about the art of asking good questions.

This book will walk you through a dozen types of questions that can be used to stimulate life-changing conversations. It is not an exhaustive list and every good question does not fall neatly into one of these categories. But, understanding how to use these twelve questions will give you the basic tools you need to lead a life-changing conversation.

The jump-ball question is particularly tricky to execute. It is, in a way, the heart of the lesson and what makes the lesson really come alive. If executed well, it will produce a lively discussion on the edge of argument. But it is almost impossible to know what question is going to work for what group. It is nearly impossible to write a universal jump-ball question that will work with all groups. Jump-ball questions nearly always have to be nudged slightly in one direction or the other in order to get the group to bite. But, I think we are getting ahead of ourselves now.

The goal of this book is to equip the teacher to effectively ask good questions that will result in lively, interesting, and on-task conversations that produce changed lives.

You can find thousands of Good Questions as part of the Good Question membership series. You can get this and thousands of other lessons for as low as $12 per teacher per year (church plan), or $40 per year for an individual plan. Other plans also available. For more information, see

You can buy the book from which this excerpt comes from Amazon.