Every group leader should know “5Q”.

You’ve taken surveys, followed up incoming Freshmen, and invited students to get involved in your community groups. It is in the small group, where relationships deepen and God’s Word takes root in a life.

But we all know that people simply showing up doesn’t ensure that life change takes place. The small group leader has an important role in creating an environment for growth and ushering participants into a life of faith.

While there are lots of good resources out there, such as The Ultimate Roadtrip, for training small group leaders, here is a simple, but vital method someone recently passed on to me. Bob Mayfield, Sunday School/Small Groups specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, talks about 5Q. It comes from one of his blog posts on “teaching methods every group leader should know”.

“…5Q is simply a take on facilitation. When a teacher is using facilitation as a means of teaching, they are generally using either questions or collaboration…

“Clearing the air on what facilitation is, and what it is not:”

  • Facilitation does NOT mean that the teacher does not need to study or develop a lesson plan. In fact, the teacher had better be well prepared because there is a good chance that he or she may receive a question that they did not anticipate because the learners are highly engaged in facilitation.
  • Facilitation does include engaging participants in the discovery process.
  • Facilitation does not mean that the most popular or most passionately presented answer is the correct one.
  • Facilitation is teaching.
  • Facilitation is not unguided learning.
  • Facilitation is not pooling the collective ignorance of the group.

“I use the term 5Q for facilitation because in my opinion, it is the best method to use when describing this form of facilitation. Also as mentioned earlier, there are other forms of facilitation.

“5Q follows five questions that the teacher or group leader develops before the group meeting. These questions are designed to help the group engage with the Bible study, but need to be developed in a process. They are not random questions tossed at the group, but instead there is a sequence to the questions involved…

“5Q (5 Questions)

  1. An introductory question that is light and can engage everyone in the group. This question should be connected to the Bible study and serve as a way to introduce and interest the group members in the Bible study.
  2. What is the context of the passage? Who was it written to and why?
  3. What does the passage say? After reading the passage, involve group members in a discussion of what the passage says. Focus on key words in the passage and their meaning.
  4. What issue is the passage addressing or correcting? What are some similar issues that we face today that this passage sheds light upon?
  5. Discuss some applications from the passage that group members can learn from in their own personal lives.”

You can find more resources on Mayfield’s blog. 5Q is similar to the CHAT (Connect, Hear, Apply and Tell) format in the Essentials24 small group studies.


Earlier in the fall I wrote about the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry.

  1. WBS Movements
  2. Multiethnic Organization
  3. Stakeholders & Partnerships
  4. Movement Accelerators
  5. Prayer Catalysts

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