What's the Q For?

The Q is for QUESTIONS! Q Places are all about discussing questions about God and seeking answers together.

What is a Q Place?

A Q Place is a small group made up of two to twelve people who get together on a regular basis to discuss spiritual questions about life, God, and the Bible.

What is “Inductive Learning” and why does it make a difference?

Q Place materials stand out from other discussion guides because they are inductive, as opposed to deductive. Inductive learning involves looking at a text or at experience analytically, extracting themes, patterns, and context, asking questions, and drawing conclusions, in a similar vein as the scientific method. This is a very active form of learning which is driven by the learner. Deductive learning, by contrast, is much more passive for the learner, as it involves a teacher or expert source conveying information which the learner has to accept or reject. Q Place discussion guides ask thought-provoking questions rather than give answers or a lot of text. No one in a Q Place is an expert, but everyone is analyzing the ideas and content together, and participants decide for themselves what they believe about the subject matter. Read more about inductive learning here…

What are some typical questions that get discussed in a Q Place?

A wide variety of questions are discussed in Q Places! Many people come just wanting to learn more about God and the Bible generally, but some people come with more specific questions such as “Why does God allow suffering and evil?”, “What is my purpose in life?”, “What difference does Jesus make?”, “Don’t all religions lead to God?” and many, many others. It is important to note that the participants of a Q Place decide what topics to study together; it’s not a class with a teacher who determines what will be discussed.

Where and when does a Q Place meet?

Q Places meet wherever and whenever it is convenient to the participants. Allow at least one hour and ideally one and a half hours for each session. Q Places meet in homes, coffee shops, work places, and anywhere people can comfortably gather.

Who can participate in a Q Place?

Anyone who is willing to explore spiritual topics in an ongoing small group discussion can participate in a Q Place. A desire to seek truth about God is the only prerequisite.

Who can facilitate a Q Place?

Because the goal of a Q Place is to learn more about God as revealed in the Bible, Q Place facilitators are people who already have a relationship with the God revealed in the Bible. Initiators (our word for people who launch Q Places) should not facilitate groups on their own. We recommend that they work in groups of three (a triad), the number we find to be most effective to provide effective leadership of any Q Place.

How are facilitators trained?

Facilitators go through the six chapters of How to Start a Q Place to learn about the steps and challenges of starting a Q Place. The group going through this process is called a Turbo Group. Additional training can happen in your Initiator Triad and at Partnering Churches where groups of people launching Q Places meet monthly to learn new conversation practices through our The Arts of Spiritual Conversations series.

What if I want to join a Q Place but there is not one in my area?

If you want to join a Q Place, contact us and let us know you want to join a Q Place. We will try to locate a Q Place close to you and connect you with the facilitators.

What if I want to join a Turbo Group but there is not one in my area?

No worries! We also start a phone Turbo Group every few months, so contact us and tell us you want to sign up.

Does Q Place cost anything?

Apart from the cost of the guidebooks, Q Place is totally free for participants! Churches or organizations who want to partner with Q Place do have costs associated with partnership. Contact us to learn more.

Why would someone want to participate in a Q Place?

There are very few places where someone who is spiritually curious can safely explore spiritual topics and learn more without being told what to believe. A Q Place provides a non-threatening environment to discuss spiritual matters, based on three main components: inductive resources, trained facilitators, and time-tested group discussion guidelines.

What if I don’t know anything about the Bible or believe it’s true?

You don’t need to know anything about the Bible or believe it’s true. The Tough Questions discussion series will introduce a few verses from the Bible in most sessions for discussion and reflection. When your group is ready, they can examine the Bible for themselves (through our Bible discussion guides) over time and determine for yourself whether it’s true and what relevance it may have to your life.

Can I come once and just check it out?

Yes, that’s actually how it works. We recommend you come once and check it out. The first Q Place gathering is actually called the “trial meeting” because we want participants and initiators to have the freedom to check out this type of group discussion and decide if it’s something you want to continue in participation.

Can I bring a friend?

Yes! That’s how Q Places grow – by bringing additional friends who might be interested in ongoing spiritual discussions. These are open groups that encourage new people to join. Q Places are relentlessly inclusive.

How many people are typically in a Q Place?

A Q Place is typically a group of two to twelve people, including two or three initiators. When it gets larger than that, we encourage the group to form two separate groups so that each participant can have adequate time to share his or her own thoughts and ideas.

How is a Q Place different from an Alpha group?

While an Alpha group has an expert who lectures on topics about Christianity, a Q Place is an informal discussion without any lecture. Q Place consists of a series of questions that help participants discover truths about God and the Bible.

An Alpha group usually meets in a church and has a team of people preparing dinner beforehand; a Q Place can meet anywhere and only needs 2-3 initiators to get started. While an Alpha group goes through a specific curriculum that is a ten-week overview of Christianity, a Q Place decides as a group what they will discuss and study. A Q Place would more likely appeal to someone who wouldn't consider coming to a church.

In addition, some who have gone through an Alpha course might appreciate using Q Place discussion guides to discover more about God and the Bible. So it could be that Q Place fits before and after Alpha. Todd Hunter, former president of Alpha USA, says, "It used to be, in the not too distant past, that spiritual explorers and seekers listened their way into faith. Today people are talking and observing their way into faith. This requires a community of people living out their faith while offering hospitality in the form of listening. Q Place is on the leading edge of God's loving response to this shift in culture."