Leading a Small Group

How to Ask Really Good Questions

Rick Hove


Questions are an essential part of any small group or Bible study. They encourage engagement and provide opportunities for everyone to share their thoughts. 

The downloadable chapter from “The Ultimate Roadtrip” includes:

  • Three types of questions you can ask.
  • How to guide your discussion.
  • Learning activities for your group.

Leader's who ask good questions understand the difference between three types of questions.

Closed Questions

Closed questions are pointed and obvious questions that imply the answer and usually only require a yes or no. 

Q: “Paul says we are to rejoice in everything, doesn’t he?” 

A: “Uhhh, yes?”

Closed questions usually end up limiting group discussion and don’t promote self-discovered learning or community. 

When group leaders don’t prepare, they tend to naturally ask closed or limiting questions. So preparation is important.

Limiting Questions

Limiting questions limit the number of “correct” answers to a particular question. 

While closed questions don’t have a place in your small group or Bible study, limiting questions can be helpful if they are used skillfully. 

These questions cause the eyes in your group to look down to the Bible. 

Q: “According to Ephesians 2:1-3, what does Paul say was true of every single one of us before we came to Christ?”

Open Questions

Open questions don’t imply an answer and are quite helpful for promoting discussion. They cause a person to think and, hopefully, learn. 

Q: “What do most people think about Jesus Christ?” 

Q: “What do you observe in this passage? What seems important?” 

Open questions encourage group participation. The answers can be broad and varied. Open questions are more difficult to prepare, but they help make for a lively discussion.

More Resources for Leading Small Groups

We’re so glad you’ve taken the step of faith to lead a group.

For other helpful tips and resources, check out “(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Leading a Small Group,” or sign up for our email series with weekly tips for small group leaders.

You can find more great info about leading a small group in the book “The Ultimate Roadtrip.”

Adapted from Rick Hove, “The Ultimate Roadtrip: A Guide to Leading Small Groups” (Orlando: CruPress, 2010).

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