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Enhance Your Sunday School Lesson By Asking Good Questions | Print |  E-mail PDF 
There is nothing worse than trying to engage Sunday School class members in discussion only to have them stare blankly at you in absolute silence.  This silence does not always communicate indifference, fear, or outright unwillingness to participate.  It may be that they feel they have nothing to contribute or that they haven’t been engaged.  Learning always takes place at a higher level when the Sunday School class members are actively engaged in the lesson and in discussion with one another.  This discussion is not simply an opportunity for everyone to share their opinion, but an opportunity to strive together to understand and apply the biblical text.  This is the goal of studying the Bible in a Sunday School class setting.

So how is this goal accomplished?  One way to lead the learners to engage the lesson is by asking good questions to draw them into the discussion.  Asking questions, rather than just sharing information, will help lead class members to discover for themselves what the text is saying and will lead to a more dynamic class.  Asking good questions will not only lead the class members to learn new things, but live what they learn.  There are four types of questions that will aid in the journey of discovery for your class members: Icebreaker/Launching questions, Observation/Informational questions, Interpretation questions, and Application questions.

Icebreaker/Launching Questions

Icebreaker or Launching questions are fun, informal questions for the purpose of getting discussion started.  Once people get started talking, they are far more likely to remain engaged.  These questions will enhance the fellowship of the class and can also reveal a lot about the class members.  Here are some examples of launching questions to get a class talking.

  1. Would you rather be a part of the Bonanza family or the Munster family?
  2. Would you rather know you only have one year to live or die unexpectedly?
  3. If you could have one superhuman power, what would it be?
  4. What would you do if you saw a miracle take place?

All of these questions can range from the silly to the serious depending on the direction of the lesson. Youth Specialties has published four books that have great discussion starter questions/situations written for teenagers, but could be used for any age group.

Observation/Informational Questions

These questions are used for the purpose of class members’ drawing out facts from scripture.  Anyone can answer these questions because the answers are found directly in the text.  Observation questions are who, what, when, and where questions that will help better understand the facts of the biblical story.  The class member should be able to look at the text and find the answer simply by reading the text.  What does the text say?

Interpretation Questions

Interpretation questions seek to get at the meaning of the text.  These questions are the “how,” “why,” and the “what does this mean” questions.  In Phil. 2:7 it says that Jesus “emptied himself.”  To say that Jesus emptied himself would be an observation from the text.  To determine what Jesus “emptying himself” means would be an interpretation question.  The interpretation questions lead the class member to move beyond simple observations to grappling with what the text actually means.  This interpretation will eventually lead to more understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for us, which will in turn affect how we live and apply scripture.

Application Questions

Application questions move the class member beyond gleaning information from the biblical text and beyond what the text actually means to how the text affects how we live.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 that we are the salt of the earth.  How does being the salt of the earth change how we live and influence/impact this world?  What things need to happen in our lives to enable us to influence this earth rather than be influenced by it?  These questions tend to be more personal in nature and will cause the class members to do personal reflection and evaluation.  These application questions will tend to either end up in lively discussion or silent personal reflection.  Either response is a good response if it produces change.

Look for ways to liven up discussion in your class by engaging your members in dialogue.  Help them to discover truth and feed themselves rather than feeding them all the time.  The more engaged they become the more dynamic the class will be and the more life change will occur.

Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on the ABSC Evangelism & Church Growth team for more helps for teaching adults and youth in Sunday School.

John CaddyJohn Caddy serves as a member of the ABSC Evangelism and Church Growth team in the area of Adult Sunday School and Small Group ministry. He served nine years as Associate Pastor of Students at Wynne Baptist Church and four years as Pastor of Church Growth and Evangelism at the Indian Springs Baptist in Bryant. It is his passion to serve Arkansas churches and their staff. He and his wife Lana, along with their four children, reside in Bryant, Arkansas.

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Check out the ABSC team descriptions below:


Business Affairs Team - Business Affairs exists to support and undergird the work of the Executive Board and administration while emphasizing the stewardship of service to the churches and associations of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.


Collegiate Ministry - The Collegiate Ministry Team represents a group of churches, campus ministries, and college students who work together to provide ministry to the collegians of Arkansas.


Evangelism & Church Growth -The Evangelism & Church Growth Team exists to assist churches to lead more people to faith in Christ, baptize more than had been previously, enroll more people in Bible study, and involve more people in discipleship activities.


Executive Support -The Executive Support Team provides leadership and support to undergird all Executive Board ministries and gives leadership to special ministries in the areas of Cooperative Program Promotion, Theological Education, information & Communication and Prayer.


Family Ministry -Helping people experience God in healthy families through godly relationships in order to fulfill the Great Commission.


Leadership & Worship - Help churches lead people to life changing encounters with Christ.


Ministry Planning -The Ministry Planning Team members include the Executive Director, his support staff, and the team leaders of the other teams. The team coordinates the work of the Executive Board and the administration of the Convention.


Missions Ministries -The Missions Ministries Team works hand in hand with Arkansas Baptists in finding practical ways of sharing their faith through ministries that not only meet the needs of believers in Arkansas, but also that provide care and concern to the lost.


Missions Support -The Missions Support Team seeks to enable every Arkansas Baptist church and association to do what they can to fulfill the Great Commission through greater missions awareness, increased missions praying and giving and more personal involvement in missions.

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