Tough Questions Leader's Guide (Tough Questions Series)

Tough Questions Leader's Guide (Tough Questions Series)

by Garry D. Poole, Judson Poling, Lee Strobel
This revised edition of Tough Questions, designed for use in any small group setting, is ideal for use in seeker small groups. Based on more than five years of field-tested feedback, extensive improvements make this best-selling series easier to use and more appealing than ever for both participants and group leaders.

The Tough Questions Series

How can an


This revised edition of Tough Questions, designed for use in any small group setting, is ideal for use in seeker small groups. Based on more than five years of field-tested feedback, extensive improvements make this best-selling series easier to use and more appealing than ever for both participants and group leaders.

The Tough Questions Series

How can an all-powerful God allow suffering? Is Jesus really the only way to God? Why should I trust the Bible?

Tough questions. Reasonable questions. The kinds of challenging questions you, or someone you know may be asking, that are worth taking time to explore.

In six sessions designed to get small groups thinking and interacting, each guide in 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.

You’ve heard them before, maybe even asked a few of them yourself. This leader’s guide will help you steer your small group toward a greater understanding of the Christian faith. Together, you’ll explore the power and preeminence of Jesus and the truth he brought to light.

You may be leading a small group of seekers who are curious but unconvinced about Christianity. Or a small group of believers who want to become better grounded in what and why they believe. Regardless, this book will give you insights and coaching you need to engage participants in thoughtful and personally rewarding discussions about the life-changing truths of Christianity.

Product Details

Publication date:
Tough QuestionsSeries Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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.

Meet the Author

As Willow Creek Community Church's key evangelism leader for over sixteen years, Garry Poole is the innovator of seeker small groups and a strategist of creative outreach initiatives. Passionate about reaching people for Christ, Garry and his team have trained thousands of leaders to launch seeker small groups in their own settings. His award-winning book, Seeker Small Groups, provides a detailed blueprint for facilitating small group discussions that assist spiritual seekers with investigating Christianity. He also wrote The Complete Book of Questions, a collection of 1001 conversation starters and numerous group study guides including The Three Habits of Highly Contagious Christians; The Tough Questions Series, and Experiencing the Passion of Jesus (with Lee Strobel) to accompany Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ. In 2005, it became the first discussion guide ever to receive the prestigious Charles “Kip” Jordon Christian Book of the Year award. Garry lives in suburban Chicago.

Judson Poling is coauthor of the Walking with God series and general editor of The Journey: A Study Bible for Spiritual Seekers.

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