We’ve watched a few DVD series over the years during our time in Young Adults’ Ministry and leading Youth Ministry. I love the discussion that can come from these sessions, especially when it’s not the superficial kind or the ‘right answers only’ kind. Don’t you agree? Good discussion can be really key in unpacking new ideas and concepts.
So if you’ve got a DVD series you want to watch at Youth that you picked up at your local Christian bookstore, how do you go about writing questions to get that real, life-changing discussion happening?
Note: this can also apply to discussion questions for a film.
Watch the DVD in advance.
First things first. Watch that DVD and make sure it’s suitable for your audience. We’ve made the mistake in the past of showing a DVD at Youth that was probably more suited to Young Adult audiences!
Take notes, especially if there are clear, numbered points.
Take lots of notes. If the speaker has clear, numbered points be sure to include all of those. Following the same numbering system and points will help your students during the discussion, especially if they’ve taken their own notes and are reading from them.
Take note of examples used to explain concepts as well. Some may not be relatable to your students, so add your own examples to these as you go.
Write down all scriptures.
Usually a speaker will have a key scripture that they focus on, and often they’ll include a range of others as well. It’s a good idea to write all of those extra scriptures down as well as the key scripture. That way you’ll have them handy if you need to refer to them later.
Start writing your discussion questions.
Think: What do you want your students to learn from this? What is the take home message? Keep the answers to these questions in mind as you write.
Some people (me, haha) need a bit of space to process something before sharing their thoughts on it. I try to keep this in mind when writing that first question. The main point of these questions is that they are easy to answer and get everyone talking. Some ideas for opening questions are:
- “How did that make you feel?”
- “What stood out for you?”
- A short yes/no or true/false quiz based on the DVD
- A relatable scenario from or based on the DVD followed by “what would you do in this situation?”
- Write out 3 or 4 yes/no questions on separate pieces of paper to put up around the room, and give your students 1 minute to run around writing their answers on (this is a good way to get them moving and talking after sitting watching a DVD)
Write open-ended questions and include action points.
Write open ended questions that leave room for discussion rather than just finding the “right answer”. These kinds of questions help students to think about how the discussion topic applies to their own lives. Action points also help students to take action in situations in their own lives. Some examples of these types of questions include:
- “What does it mean to you…”
- “Why do you think…”
- “What do you think the speaker meant by…”
- “How could you apply this scripture to your life?” / “What are some situations in your life where this scripture might apply?”
- “What steps are you taking towards…” / “What steps could you start taking towards…”
Help them to engage during the DVD.
To have an even better discussion, do something to help your students engage with the DVD. This could be a worksheet with a few questions or fill-in-the-blanks, or simply the key scripture and the number of points with space for their own notes.
- Have you done this before? What tips do you have for writing questions for a DVD study?
- In your experience, what’s been the best kind of discussion question in your group?