Discussion Questions

A COMPLETE LIST OF DISCUSSION QUESTIONS THAT ARE USED WITHIN EACH SYCAMORE FILM

The first question is often an icebreaker near the very beginning of each film.

The second and third questions are more substantive, but they are designed in a way that allows anyone to answer them, without assuming any religious or Christian background, and thus avoiding the sense that people are being tested about specialised knowledge. The exceptions to this are the alternative and follow-up questions: group leaders can choose to use these if the group wants to go deeper and has enough background knowledge.

The final question (D) comes at the end of each film, just before the credits, and does not have any interviews with it

 

(1) The search for happiness

1A: “What were your favourite childhood games at school or home?”

1B: “What do you think people are looking for most in their lives?”

1C: “What purpose do you think religion plays in people’s lives?”

1D: “What are your own thoughts about religion or faith?”

 

(2) Does God exist?

2A: “What were the religious beliefs of your parents or grandparents?”

2B: “Why do you think many people find it hard to believe in God?”

2C: “If you were God, what would you do to convince people that you existed?”

2D: “What are your own thoughts about the existence of God?”

 

(3) Who is Jesus Christ?

3A: “Who is the person you most admire in the world and why?”

3B: “If you had the power to change one thing in the world what would it be?” + ALTERNATIVE QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: “Why do you think Jesus is so important for so many people today?”

3C: “In today’s society, what do people associate with the seasons of Christmas and Easter?” + ALTERNATIVE QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: “What do you think about the idea that Jesus died and rose from the dead for us?”

3D: “What do you think about the picture of Jesus that has been presented in this session?”

 

(4) The Holy Spirit in our lives

4A: “What is the most precious gift you have ever received and why was it so special?”

4B: “Have you ever had something you would call a ‘spiritual experience’ or a special moment that made you stop and question life?”

4C: “If you could change yourself or your life in some way, with God’s help – what would you ask him to do for you?”

4D: “What ideas or questions stand out for you from this session?”

 

(5) Why do we need the Church?

5A: “What are your family roots? Where do your grandparents come from and what did they do?”

5B: “What churches or religious buildings have you visited? Which is your favourite and why?”

5C: “What does it mean to belong to a family or community?”

5D: “What is your perception – positive or negative – of Christian communities you have known or heard about?”

 

(6) Can we trust the Bible and the Christian Tradition?

6A: “What is your favourite book or film?”

6B: “Where do you look for guidance and inspiration when you need it?”

6C: “What traditions and stories do you associate with your own country of origin?” + ALTERNATIVE QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: “When you think of the Bible, what associations come to mind, for you or your culture?

6D: “What ideas or questions stand out for you from this session?” + ALTERNATIVE QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: “What are your experiences of reading or hearing about the Bible?

 

(7) [or Retreat Day, morning session] The gift of faith

7A: “Have you ever signed a petition or joined some kind of campaign? Which ones? If not – what puts you off?”

7B: “What makes us trust some people more than others?” + FOLLOW UP QUESTION: “Why do you think people trusted Jesus?

7C: “Can you think of a risk you have ever taken – big or small? Was it worth taking?” + FOLLOW UP QUESTION: “What are the core beliefs and convictions that guide your life and help you to make decisions?”

7D: “Do you think it makes sense, sometimes, to take a step of faith?”

 

(8) [or Retreat Day, afternoon session] The power of prayer

8A: “Have you ever prayed or attended a religious service? What was it like?”

8B: “Do you think that prayer can make a difference to people’s lives?”

8C: “Why do you think many people find it hard to pray?”

8D: “What ideas or questions stand out for you from this session?”

 

(9) The meaning of love

9A: “What does it mean to love someone?”

9B: “What do you think are the most important values to teach children and why?”

9C: “Do you think it’s possible to love those who don’t love you or to forgive those who hurt you?”

9D: “What ideas or questions stand out for you from this session?”

 

(10) How do I discover the purpose of my life?

10A: “When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

10B: “What would you like to achieve in your life? What would you like to be remembered for?”

10C: “What do you think about life after death?”

10D: “What ideas or questions stand out for you from this session?”

 

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