One of the things I’m very intentional about when leading a small group is building a sense of community and belonging. Whenever I lead a church small group I like to open with a simple, short ice breaker. I just find it helps everyone relax and open up.
If there’s new people in the group these should help them feel more comfortable part of the group and help everyone get to know one another a little more.
I’ve deliberately chosen Church Small group Ice Breakers that are very simple and perfect for indoors. In most cases they don’t require you prepare anything, because if you’re like me, sometimes it’s group time and you’ve been busy all day and need something quick and easy.
Whether its a silly game or a simple open-ended question to get people to open up, here are my top 10 church small group ice breakers.
1. The M&M’s game
I like this game because as with all the icebreakers ideas in this list, there’s really not that much to prepare; all you need is a pack of M&M’s and a set of questions.
Start by getting everyone to grab 3 or 4 different coloured M&M’s from the pack. Each colour will have a question associated with it, it’s completely up to you what these questions but here are a few ideas:
Have someone pick a colour and go round the group answering the question for that colour. If someone doesn’t have that particular colour, don’t worry just skip over that person. Once they’ve answered they can eat the M&M!
Keep going until all the M&M’s have been digested. Now everyone knows a little more about each other and the ice is well and truly broken. :-)
2. Lucky penny
A very simple but interesting game. Either have your penny jar to hand or ask everyone to grab a coin from their pocket and look at the date.
Now go round the group one by one and ask everyone to tell you something interesting that happened to them in that year.
Simple as that!
3. What happened in the last 7 days?
Go round each person in the group and ask them to share 1 good thing and 1 challenging thing that’s happened to them in the last 7 days.
Again, really simple but this has to be one of my all time favourites because it’s a great way to find out what’s happening in the lives of your group members since you last met.
As people open up about their week, openess and trust is built within the group. I use this almost every week in our youth group Bible study. People applaud at the good things that have happened (celebrating successes together) and you’ll get a good sense of how you can prayer for them whether in your own time or within the small group.
4. The string game
Now I’d say this game is especially good for children and youth, but it depends on your group. It’s a whole lot of fun and we normally have people laughing in hysterics.
Split into two equal teams, giving each team a ball of string. The challenge is to get a single piece of string that goes through every team member’s clothing. The first person starts, puts the string through their t-shirt and trousers (have people just put it though their tops if you prefer) before passing it onto the next person and so on.
The team who does does this the fastest wins!
If you want to take a bit more time, go back and have the string passing through the opposite direction.
I took this game a step further one day in the park. After the teams were “strung” together we have a race to see which team were the fastest!
Take a look:
The moral of the game? Well, you could use this as an object lesson about how Christ is the single thread that unites us, but honestly for me, it’s just a whole lot of fun!
5. A truth and a lie
I’m gonna go ahead and guess you’ve heard of this one but it’s one of my all time favourites.
Sit in a circle and ask each person in turn to tell a truth and a lie about themselves. Then ask everyone else to vote on which one they think is the truth.
You’ll end up hearing some pretty elaborate and unbelievable stories and find out things you never knew about each other before.
6. Murder mystery
Cops and robbers, killer and detective, this ice breaker goes by many names but the basic concept is always the same – you pick 1 person to be the detective and send them out of the room while you choose another to be the killer. Then invite the detective back into the room.
Sitting in a circle, the aim of the killer is to kill off as many people as possible whilst remaining undetected. The rule is he/she can only kill a team member by looking them in the eye and winking, and members must die if the killer winks at them. It’s the detective’s job to find the perpetrator before everyone in the team dies.
To make the game quicker, have the killer win after 3 deaths if he’s not been caught.
I love the suspicion and suspense of this game and you can do as many rounds as you like depending on how much time you have.
7. Memory game: I went to the market and I bought…
Choose a person in the group to start with the phrase:
“I went to the market and I bought…”
It can be whatever they like. Suppose the first person said “A shark”, the next person will say “I went to the market and I bought a shark… and a chocolate bar.”
Each person adds their own item to the end of the list. You could easily end up with people having to remember 15 to 20 items with the game getting progressively more difficult as you go.
Can’t remember an item? You’re out! Keep going until there’s only 1 man standing.
There are so many variations to this game depending how strict you want to be. For example you might say the items have to be in alphabetical order or can only be fruit or vegetables.
You could also set a 5 or 10 second time limit for people struggling to remember what someone bought to make the game shorter.
Similar to “What happened in the last 7 days ice breaker”, this is a great way to start your church small group with an easy conversation starter.
Going round each person in turn ask them “How, Wow, Pow, Chow?”:
How: How are you doing right now?
Wow: Share a wow moment from last week
Pow: Share a challenging thing that happened last week.
Chow: What was the best thing you ate last week?
9. Name Impulse game
This is a fun game especially when useful if you have lots of first time attenders or a new group who don’t know each other that well yet.
With this game you only have to remember your own name. Sounds pretty easy right?
The aim of the game is get everyone to say their name as soon as the person on their right as quickly as possible.
Explain to your group it’s a time challenge and you’re going to time it. Choose a starting person and say “Start!”.
10. Great ice breaker questions
One of the best ways I find to start a small church group is to just ask a simple question because it gets everyone talking, involved and sharing about themselves and getting to know each other.
Here’s a few sample questions you could start with:
- When was the last time you did something for the first time?
- Tell a story about your best best friend from childhood
- If you could meet any character from the Bible and ask them any questions, who would it be, what would you ask them and why?
- If you had a day with no obligations, what would you do?
- If you could change your name, what would you change it to and why?
- What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?
“Would you rather…” questions are always good too. For example, “Would you rather have the ability to run at 100 miles per hour or the ability to fly at 10 miles per hour?”
There you have it! My Top 10 Church Small Group Ice Breakers I use on a regular basis. I hope you’ve found this helpful.
What about you? What good games or ice breakers do you use in your home groups? Share with us in the comments below!