I have this can of questions which I’ve used as an ice breaker, meeting spicer-upper, emergency lesson plan, and the 100% go-to idea that worked during Zoom youth group meetings during COVID19. Something that worked in the 1980s continues to work now! I’ve added to this can over my 39-years and have never used every question with a group yet.
The most beloved thing I ever heard about my can is from a now 14-year old girl who recently said to me, “I can’t wait until I have a daughter and you are her youth pastor and she can answer these same questions I am answering.” I still gush over that compliment as I wonder how old I would be to be a youth pastor to her daughter?! (Would I even be alive?)
There is loads of research about the importance of the family dinner on the well-being of teens. It’s the connection; it’s the consistency; it’s the nutrition of the meal; it’s the slowing down (at least for 30 minutes); it’s a moment to laugh together. (Laughing together is a great goal to have for all family dinners.)
May I pass on to you something else to add to your family meal once a week to increase that connection and the slowing down and very likely create some laughter? Create your own family can of questions.
Below you will find only some of my questions from my question can. Write these questions out on slips of paper and store in a tin or basket. Once a week over dinner pull out the tin and have someone at the table pull one of the questions out and read to the family gathered. Everyone around the table must answer. Every one. Trust me, I’m passing along my best questions as I’m also not passing on any questions that will embarrass you or undermine your authority as a parent.
What a great “dessert” to give your family to linger together just a bit longer. A bonus is you may also stumble into a conversation about God and/or your faith. This is yet another way to pass on your faith to your teen. This is an easy way to pass on your faith to your teen.
Here are your questions. It is up to you to find a cool tin. I found mine in the 1980s.
- What’s your favorite time of day and why?
- What do you like best: rivers, lakes, ponds, or streams? Why?
- If you sat down next to Jesus on a bus, what would you talk about?
- Who is your hero? What makes that person your hero?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you had to decide whether or not to stand up for what you believed in? What did you do?
- What is the nicest compliment you ever received from an adult?
- If you had one day to live over again, what day would you pick?
- Which do you like better—sunrise or sunset? Why?
- When you’re alone, what’s a song you like to sing or hum? Why?
- What’s your favorite thing to do on an expected day off of school?
- Who’s your faith hero?
- Would you rather cut grass or rake leaves? Why?
- Would you rather have many friends or one good friend? Why?
- What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?
- If Jesus were in a band, what would he play?
- What Crayola Crayon color would you choose to describe God?
- What do you think is your worst bad habit?
- Do you think Jesus ever got tired of being Jesus?
- If you had $100 to give away to one organization, who would you give it to and why?
- If they made a movie about your family, who should star as your family members? Explain.
- What if you could buy a pocket lie-detector gadget that would beep every time someone told a lie. Would you buy it and use it? Why or why not?
- What is the one question your friends have asked about Christianity that you don’t have an answer for?
- Which word comes closest to describing the way you see Jesus‑nice, fierce, or mysterious?
- Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now?
- In what ways does your faith enter into your decision-making?
- Would you rather have a party with a few friends or with lots of friends?
- What was your favorite family trip and why?
- If someone ask you, “how can you believe in a God you haven’t seen?” how would you answer?
- What do you think Jesus would look like today (clothing, hairstyle, etc.)
- Who is the best example of a Christian you know? Why?
- For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
- Of all the problems in the world, what problem do you think saddens God the most?
- Do you feel God’s presence more when you’re alone or with people? Why?
- If Jesus wanted to hang out with you this Friday, where would you take Him?
- Which of your current friends do you feel will still be important to you ten years from now?
- Name a person you think is wise. What makes this person wise?
- What room in our house best represents your personality? Why?
- What does God look like and what is the first image that comes to mind?
- Who’s the first person you’d call to ask for prayer if you were in trouble?
- If Jesus were to follow you around for one day, is there anything you would do differently?
- What is the coolest app that I don’t have on my phone?
- Do you know anyone who you would say has an ideal marriage or relationship?
- How do you think the world will eventually end?