The Key to Asking Vulnerable Questions

We kicked off our fall programming this year by wrestling with the question, “Does God exist?”, a question prompted – at least in part – by the fact that some of our freshmen are adamant about their belief that God does not exist.

Part of the night involved small group discussions.

As every youth worker knows, small groups can be hit or miss.

This one was a hit that left all of my adult leaders fired up, largely because of students' honesty and vulnerability. During this particular discussion, students willingly shared with one another, seemingly without fear of being looked down upon or judged.

Since I always want to build off things that are going well, I asked leaders what contributed to students' willingness to be vulnerable.

One leader immediately responded, “Small groups got real because you assumed doubt. You didn’t ask, 'Have you ever doubted God existed?' You asked 'Tell us about a time WHEN you doubted God existed.'”

That choice was intentional.

As a researcher, I know that the way you ask a question matters. So, when I write discussion questions, I try to think through not just WHAT I'm asking but HOW I'm asking it.

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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