categories: church, development, leadership, preaching
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December 1st, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

11 comments (+ Add)

The Right Questions

In the church world, you will almost always get feedback. But not all feedback is equal. Finding the right feedback is vitally important.

A key to finding the right feedback is asking the right questions.

Here are a few questions that won’t be very effective:

  • What did you think of the sermon? (A general question will likely draw a general response.)
  • I’m not sure if that song was any good. What did you think? (A leading question will likely draw a less truthful response.)
  • Was that program beneficial to you? (People are generally polite. You’re question isn’t likely to solicit helpful feedback.)

Here are some more helpful questions:

  • Of all the things we did, what one thing should we change next time? (This specific question is likely to draw a specific result.)
  • What one thing was the most helpful to you? What one thing was the least helpful? (By giving a person the opportunity to tell you what they liked first, they might be more likely to offer constructive suggestions next.)
  • I really need your help to make a decision. We need to cut 10 minutes off this talk. What part of the content was least helpful to you? (This direct question will certainly get a direct response.)
  • What is the one thing you’ll take away from this event? (Limiting the feedback to the one big thing should be valuable.)

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Comments

there are a total of11
  1. Dec 1, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Thank you Craig. These questions remind me of the way that great question asker — Bobb Biehl — goes at things. I have tended to live in the area of the first set of questions.
    Blessings,
    Dave

  2. Dec 1, 2009 at 9:32 am

    This is so helpful Craig. Thanks for investing in others. Praying for you.

  3. Dec 1, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Thanks for the helpful questions.

  4. Dec 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Good reminder to actually ‘ask’. Sometimes I admit, I don’t want to hear feedback even though I highly value critique.

    I love PEACE! I often avoid getting someone’s feedback because it causes me to become unfocused and I sometimes go in a lot of directions trying to make everyone happy!

    How do you balance that?

  5. Dec 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Great insight, Craig! Now, about the one thing you should change… ;-)

  6. Dec 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Oooh! These are very helpful to me! (right now especially…actually they will always be!)

    I have a question for whoever has an answer!

    I know feedback is very helpful and good. However, I find it difficult to ask for it because I am always thinking I should be asking God. What is the point where you ask God AND people, or just God?

    (I hope it was a clear question :) )

  7. 7AndyA
    Dec 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    @Jared B I think you ask God first, then ask people. God can easily talk through one of the people you ask. It’s good to have people who will hold you accountable and answer your questions in the best way they can, instead of just a random onlooker. Seek and you will surely find!

  8. 8Carrie
    Dec 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you for these tips. In my job, I’m always asking people for feedback (it’s part of the job:)). And I’m always trying find the right questions to ask so people will give helpful feedback (meaning they have a suggestion or solution) rather than just saying they simply don’t like something.

  9. Dec 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Good stuff.

  10. Dec 4, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I think you are right. The right questions make all the difference. The trouble is, that most leaders in the church only know how to ask the questions you ask here. I’d suggest that questions you included here are actually counter productive in that they are working against you Craig and what I know that you stand for. You want to empower the people to be the church. You want them to see themselves as responsible for their neighbor and the LC.tv’s ministry, both on the people within the church and those outside. You want people to be disciples.

    the problem is that these questions don’t do any of those things. And while I understand that these aren’t the only questions you are asking people (or suggesting people ask) they are unintentionally working against you dream for your church.

    A person can answer everyone of these questions and not be engaged. A person can answer everyone of these questions and actually become less of a disciple and less responsible for the well being of their neighbor. They can answer these questions and leave with no real feeling of ownership because by asking these questions in this way, you are taking that responsiblity from them. You are showing that you are the one responsible.

    for instance, the last question is pretty common. “What’s the one thing that you’ll take away from this event?” It sounds like an engaging question, but I can answer it without engaging because it has nothing to do with my responsibility for the event. Often in our meetings we’ll break into smaller groups and have people come back and report with a question like this. Maybe a better question when people return would be, “Say something encouraging to the people in the room based on your experience here today.”

    Just some thoughts.

  11. Dec 13, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Craig,

    These will help and I have a few others I like to use based upon experience:
    What do we need to KEEP doing?
    What do we need to START doing?
    What do we need to STOP doing?

    The order is important.