Let’s face it. Engaging your protégé in deep and meaningful conversations can be a challenge. You may find yourself running out of things to say or questions to ask and occasionally, your conversations seem to go flat. Now that we’ve acknowledged this truth, I’d like to share a bit of encouragement with you – you are not alone. Conversations can be awkward at times – with anyone. Depending on the number of differences (such as age, race, culture, life experience, etc.) these conversations can be even more challenging to navigate, especially with the objective of delving into fruit bearing conversations. In the blog post titled, “The Art of Asking Good Questions” we learn that how God has wired everyone with a desire to be known and understood. We also learn a few practical tips on how to ask good questions, such as the importance of asking open ended questions: “If the second word in the question is you it’s probably a closed question (Do you like..? or Have you been..? ).”
This blog seeks to take “The Art of Asking Good Questions” a step further by providing a few questions to aid in your quest to engage in in-depth conversations with your protégé. Please note, the writer is fully aware that communication is a two-way street, and no one wants to feel like the burden of the conversation is completely on them; it takes two (or more) to have a meaningful conversation. However, as a mentor to a young person who is still developing social skills, we encourage you to take the lead in asking the questions and initiating conversations. The hope is that eventually your protégé will reciprocate and adapt the art of asking good questions based on your leadership.
Another thing to consider is not to turn your relationship into an interrogation session. The purpose of this resource is to equip youth mentors with a few conversation starters; by no means are mentors encouraged to go through this entire list in one hangout. Breath, relax, and ask questions such as (but not limited to) the ones below. Actively listen, and be willing to share about yourself in return (the good, bad and ugly). Celebrate your successes, and failures. This helps to humanize you and will allow your protégé to feel more at ease and likely to follow your lead of openness and sincerity. The following questions have been developed based on the 5S model (salvation, sexual purity, school, future story, and service) in addition to a few general questions to spark intentional conversations that will lead to fruit bearing responses.
- Who do you think Jesus is?
- Who do you think God is?
- How would you define the gospel?
- What does it mean to be “saved”?
- What do you think a person has to do in order to be “saved?”
- When is a good time for someone to “give their life to Jesus?”
- Why do you think Christians make such a big deal about Jesus?
- What questions do you have surrounding Christianity and/or Christ?
- If you died today where do you think you would spend your eternity? Why?
- What does salvation mean to you personally?
- What does it look like to live for yourself? How is that different from living for God?
Sexual Purity Questions:
- What would you say/do if one of your friends told you they were pregnant or got someone pregnant?
- Where do you think most of your peers learn about sex?
- What’s the right age to get married?
- Why do you think people get married?
- What do you think the term purity means?
- What is the opposite of purity?
- How do we live out a life of purity in a culture that’s in opposition to it?
- In your own opinion, why is it ‘impossible’ to still be a virgin in South Dallas?
- Who do you feel comfortable talking to about sex?
- What would you say if a boy/girl tried to pressure you into having sex? (Describe your thought process behind your response).
- What do you think is the purpose for sex?
- Do you know anyone personally who is married? Are they happy within their marriage?
- Do you think you will get married one day? Why?
- What are some of the long-term consequences of sex before marriage (even outside of one’s relationship with God)? (Consider emotional bondage, STDs, pregnancy, etc.)
- What are your views on same sex relationships?
- Who is your favorite teacher this year? Why?
- What has been your greatest achievement and greatest failure in school so far?
- Why do you think people drop out of school?
- How do you think the choices you’re making while in grade school will affect your future?
- What do you enjoy most about school and what do you dislike? Why?
- How do your friends positively or negatively influence your educational experience?
- When you’re having a bad day at school what do you do to make yourself feel better?
- What made your day “good” or “bad” or “meh”?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much of a priority is school to you? Why?
Future Story Questions:
- What areas do you think you’re naturally skilled, talented, and/ or gifted in?
- Who has been the most influential person in your life? How have they influenced you?
- What goals do you hope to accomplish by the time you’re an adult?
- What are you doing currently to accomplish your goals/ dreams?
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- If you were guaranteed success in a certain profession, what would you want to do?
- Who is the most successful person that you know?
- In your own words, how would you define success?
- If you had to live in a different state, where would it be?
- When do you think is the best age to start working?
- When do you think is the best time to attend college?
- What skillset to do think is needed to remain in college and graduate?
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
- Why do you think it’s important to begin planning for the future?
- What are some things that you think could prevent you from accomplishing your future goals?
- How do you like to be served?
- What’s the kindest thing someone has done for you?
- What is the kindest thing that you’ve done for someone else?
- Recall a time when you’ve seen service done well?
- What ways have you seen service done poorly?
- What are ways that you’ve seen people serve others?
- What does service mean to you personally?
- Why do you think people serve?
- How would you define service?
- What do you think motivates people to serve?
- How could you serve someone?
- Who is the kindest person you know? What makes them kind?
- Where are some places that we serve?
- When do you think is the best time to serve?
- What’s your best childhood memory?
- What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?
- What are your 3 favorite movies?
- What do you like to do on a rainy day?
- What trait do you like the most about yourself?
- What’s the best part about having siblings? (or best part of being an only child?)
- What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
- What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
- What is your favorite season?
- What is your pet peeve(s)?
- What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
- How would you describe me to your friends?
- Would you rather live for a week in the past or the future?
Monique Alleyne, Relationship Coordinator