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Tough Questions Leader's Guide

Tough Questions Leader's Guide

by Garry D. Poole, Judson Poling, Judson Poling, Debra Poling
The Tough Questions series faces head-on the difficult and challenging questions seekers ask about the Christian faith. This leader's guide is of particular help to those men and women presiding over small groups who seek to push hard discussions further and deeper.

You've heard them before, maybe even asked a few of them yourself about the Christian faith. This


The Tough Questions series faces head-on the difficult and challenging questions seekers ask about the Christian faith. This leader's guide is of particular help to those men and women presiding over small groups who seek to push hard discussions further and deeper.

You've heard them before, maybe even asked a few of them yourself about the Christian faith. This leader's guide will help you steer your small group toward a greater understanding of Christianity. Members will discover the power and preeminence of Jesus and the truth he brought to light. Your group may be all believers who want to become better grounded in what and why they believe. Or it may include seekers who are curious but unconvinced about the Christian faith. Regardless, this book gives you insights and coaching to help you lead interactive sessions that will engage participants in thoughtful and personally rewarding dialogue about the life-changing truths of Christianity. In six sessions designed to get small groups thinking and discussing, the Tough Questions series deals frankly with objections commonly raised about Christianity. You'll engage in the kind of spirited dialog that shows the Christian faith can stand up to scrutiny.

Author Biography: Garry Poole is director of evangelism at Willow Creek Community Church (www.willowcreek.org) in South Barrington, Illinois, and author of Seeker Small Groups and co-author of the Tough Questions series.;Judson Poling works with small group ministries at Willow Creek. He is coauthor of the Walking with God series and general editor of The Journey: A Study Bible for Spiritual Seekers.;Debra Poling, following many years as a writer for the Son City youth ministry, now serves as a writer for the adult drama ministry at Willow Creek Community Church. Debra lives in Huntington Park, IL.

Product Details

Publication date:
Tough Questions Series
Product dimensions:
5.99(w) x 9.01(h) x 0.33(d)

Read an Excerpt

IntroductionWelcome to the Tough Questions series. We believe that leading a group that explores the following tough questions is well worth the time and energy invested. Francis Schaeffer said, “It is not more spiritual to believe without asking questions. It is not more biblical. It is less biblical and eventually it will be less spiritual because the whole man will not be involved.” What kind of people will want to delve into this kind of small group study guide? The reality is that both believers and seekers have questions. Sometimes people come to faith but at a later point in time realize their foundation is shaky. You or people you know may want to gain a better knowledge about truths you've accepted for years. This would be a great curriculum to help you reinforce that foundation. Others are interested in this series because they have a spouse, relative, friend, or coworker who has been hounding them with their tough questions. In this case, the group can serve to equip believers to engage in more productive evangelistic discussions. Still others are seekers — people investigating the claims of Christianity to determine if it really is true. We're especially excited about the possibility that your group may include seekers because we know seekers need to have a safe place to be heard and get their objections and questions addressed. We also know from our own ministry experience there isn't a lot out there written to help a seeker investigate Christianity in a group setting. Whether you have only one seeker or a whole group of them, we believe this material is a perfect fit for such an exploration. The last guide in particular, Why Become a Christian?, is a great tool for helping someone cross the line of faith and receive Christ as forgiver and leader. How to Conduct a Meeting Using This Material Whatever the profile of your group, we would like to offer a few cautions for you to consider as you begin. First, it is important for you and your group members to have realistic expectations for your group. These guides do not cover every conceivable tough question, and you can't possibly answer in detail even the questions they do explore. While they will help you and your group members make great strides toward satisfying answers, studying these issues is a lifetime endeavor. Additional reading will almost certainly be required for anyone to feel that he or she has a firm handle on the answer to any of these questions. So let your group members know that the group discussions will help them on their journey but they won't tie up every loose end. Second, we firmly believe in a process that honors people where they are right now — even if they have “wrong answers.” People need to know that when they come to the group they will be loved and accepted, even with their unorthodox beliefs. Incorrect answers need to be heard, in part for comparison purposes and also because we need to value each other even when the other person is wrong (someday, we may want the favor returned!). Paradoxically, when people feel the freedom to say what doesn't make sense to others, they become more open to what others have to say. This may also include a new appreciation for the answers provided to us by God in His Word. Our experience has shown us that minds change more easily when they are free to explore. Third, we believe that your group should not become purely academic. If all you do is talk about questions and answers without also entering into a sense of community with the other group members, you will miss an important dynamic that is life-changing. That is especially true if you have seekers in your group. We've observed that people are more often repelled by Christianity because of the way they've been treated by believers than by the inadequate answers they've heard from those believers. While this is a generalization, we believe the Tough Questions series provides a tremendous opportunity for seekers to receive both good answers and a taste of loving Christian community. These are powerful tools in the Holy Spirit's arsenal to win back wandering souls. As the leader, set the relational temperature for your group. Make it a family, not just a class. Finally, we caution leaders against adopting a know-it-all attitude. These people have not joined your group to hear your wisdom each meeting; they've come to discuss and explore together. Resist teaching, and instead lead a process of discovery. You don't have to have all the answers, and it will be better for all concerned if each person gets a chance to have his or her say. Over time, complete answers will begin to emerge from the collective discussion rather than from the brilliant mind of any one person in the group.

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