Sometimes students have questions about life, youth ministry, the Bible, themselves, etc. Questions that they may be uncomfortable asking anyone.
It can be hard growing up and feeling like you are the only one who doesn’t know anything. It seems like everyone else knows everything and you don’t want to look stupid. They likely already feel like they standout for things that we might think are dumb (I have a hair that is sticking up; there is a zit on my nose; I just got in a fight with my mom; etc.). Imagine having all of those things going on and then asking a question they don’t know about and worry they may get laughed at and made fun of. It just isn’t going to happen with every student.
So I propose the “Ask Me Anything Box” as a solution. This is a box that you place somewhere in your meeting room, or even at a desk in the church where they can be even more anonymous. A place where students can write down questions about anything they want. Put together some sort of box. It could be made out of cardboard/shoe box with a slit in the top; it could be a wooden box with a lock on it and a slit in the side carved out; it could be a basket that you pass around (probably not the best one). Just be creative.
Label it well
Make sure you put it in a place that students will know where it is and will see it easily. You could use a poster board and write “Ask Me Anything Box” on it and put arrows pointing at it. Tape the poster board up against a wall and put the box at the bottom of it (you may need to tape/screw it to the wall).
Reference it (regularly)
Explain it really well in front of your group during your announcements. Better yet, do a message on questions we have and then use the box as your application piece. Take a picture and display it during your announcements. Make a goofy little video with a student using the box and showing you where it is.
Respond to the questions placed inside of it regularly
Don’t make this something that you think is a good idea and then just let it sit there. It will not get used if you don’t respond to the questions. Truth be told, you will likely get goofy questions that have nothing to do with anything, but there will be some legitimate questions as well. Hopefully you get that there are some questions you probably shouldn’t answer from the stage, but do your best to answer as many questions as you can. You could have a segment of your meeting time be “Question Box Answers” or you could use the questions as direction for future messages.
2 thoughts on “The “Ask Me Anything” Box”
I’ve done this. Good stuff. I printed some postcard size notes with “PJ, I’ve got questions”. There was a box to check if they needed a personal response. Every couple of months (not a lot of questions – my students already know almost everything) I would make the questions the message. It was sometimes more like “random night” and other times they almost flowed together. Great experience. It also let me talk about topics I might not have ever spoke about – where did the dinosaurs go, will we know each other in Heaven, who did Adam & Eve’s kids marry, etc)
A youth camp speaker did this one year. He handed out index cards and let students write down any question. Then, during the dreaded morning session, he answered questions. He grouped the similar questions together. He would start he session by answering the really goofy questions as a sort of ice-breaker (why do boys stink, why do girls go to the bathroom in groups, etc). Then he’d move on to tougher questions about peer pressure, abuse, heaven/hell, dating, etc. Best morning session I’ve ever been part of.
Thanks for the article. Everyone should do this.
Great additions to this post. Love that you used them to help you with message ideas. I think that is awesome! It truly is amazing what students will ask. Of course some of them will be goofy questions, but some of them are really deep and insightful. The idea of doing it at camp as a speaker really intrigues me. I have done it when I have spoken on purity with guys only and girls only, but not for a general message time. I will be stealing that idea! Thanx!