A new small group can be an intimidating experience for many people. They may be unsure of what to expect, worried about saying or doing the wrong thing, or simply uncomfortable sharing faith experiences with others. If you are a group leader, you have an opportunity to resolve these feelings quickly so the group can be a comfortable and productive experience. Here are five icebreakers that can help your new small group to get off on the right foot.
1. Fact or Fiction?
This game is also known as ‘Two Truths and a Lie.’ Many people played this game as children or adolescents. It allows people to get to know each other and can even provide comic relief. Give each person an index card and ask them to write two facts about themselves and one item that is not true. Each person will read their card and allow group members to guess which is the fiction.
2. Five Facts
This game also involves sharing and guessing facts. Give each person an index card and ask them to write five obscure facts about themselves. These should not be items that anyone in the group would know. Afterward, collect the cards and read each one aloud while group members attempt to guess the person’s identity. This is a way to find out strange and fun facts about new people.
3. Favorite Sunday School Song
If the people in your small group grew up with some involvement in faith communities, they probably remember a favorite Sunday School or other children’s song. Sharing favorite songs allows people to get to know each other and connect with their own inner child. In addition, many Sunday School songs are silly, so this activity can lead to a lot of laughter.
4. Bible Verse Scavenger Hunter
Games that place the Word of God as center of your group can both break the ice and create a focus on what really matters. Make a list of different actions or items and have people find as many as possible in a short allotted time.
For example, have them find a food, a story of falling in romantic love, a message of hope, and an instance of foreshadowing of the Messiah. There are endless categories that will send your group flipping through pages. At the end, have group members share the verses they found in their scavenger hunt. This game can be made as short or long as you wish.
5. The Five W’s
In journalism, reporters are required to ensure their stories include the five W’s: who, what, where, when, and why. Give each group member an index card and write down one question beginning with one of these words. After you have collected the cards, have each group member answer all of the questions. This is a great way to get to know a large group and also can be quite comedic when silly questions are asked.
Getting to know each other is the beginning of an experience that will help to grow faith and build community connections. Once your group has broken the ice, consider ongoing ways to build bonds. For instance, StudyChurch allows members to interact online about the lesson even after you have met. Building bonds and stimulating important discussions will ensure that every member of your group finds it to be a productive and challenging experience.