We’ve all experienced being the new person in a group of strangers. One of two things happen in that situation: either 1) there is a meaningful and personal connection and you begin to relax and feel comfortable or 2) things go on being painfully awkward until you can find a time to leave.
As leaders in our small groups, we have a responsibility to create a warm and welcoming environment. That means ensuring that each person makes a meaningful and personal connection with the group.
Cue the Ice Breakers.
Ice Breakers are one of the easiest and most effective ways to get people talking and creating a personal connection with your group (and let’s face it, they can be downright fun!). A good Ice Breaker will provide the opportunity for even the shy members of your group to open up and feel engaged.
We recently asked the members of the Small Group Network Facebook Group what their favorite Ice Breaker questions are. We received a wide variety of responses and have boiled them down into 4 different categories:
- The Funny Ice Breaker Questions
- The Surface Ice Breaker Questions
- The Personal Ice Breaker Questions
- The Transition Ice Breaker Questions
Each has its place in the small group setting which we’ll investigate below.
Funny Ice Breaker Questions
Funny Ice Breaker Questions can get the ball rolling with your small group. They’ll help your members loosen up and begin to create personal connections with each other. Funny Ice Breakers Questions are the most common of the 4 and will often be the most memorable for your group.
- Share the best or worst ice breaker you have ever had to do.
- If you were to sing karaoke what would you sing?
- If you could have tickets to any event, past present or future, what would it be and why?
- What breakfast cereal best describes your personality, and why?
There are plenty of options for this kind of Ice Breaker. As the most used and most fun it is easy to throw one in no matter how long the group has been meeting together. If you are looking for more Funny Ice Breaker Questions check out The Best 20 Ice Breakers. We also highly recommend Ice Breaker games! Here are a few to get you started: 5 icebreakers for new small groups.
Surface Ice Breaker Questions
Surface Ice Breaker Questions are similar to the Funny Ice Breaker Questions and you might even group them together. However, these questions are a little different as they move from mindless answers to something a little more in-depth. While still carrying a light-hearted side to them, Surface Ice Breaker Questions are asking for a little more thought.
- Tell a story about a time when you broke a bone.
- Which movie best represents your life?
- If you had a perfect weekend day, what would it look like?
Personal Ice Breaker Questions
Personal Ice Breaker Questions is where your group will have the chance to really get to know each other. Your group may not be ready for these types of questions during the first meeting but making deep personal connections is important to the health of your small group.
Try asking one or two Personal questions and leave it open for people to answer. If they don’t feel comfortable answering take it upon yourself to answer the question first. Try a few more if your group responds well, but if they don’t feel comfortable yet give them time and come back to it at another meeting. Don’t ever push someone to answer a question if they don’t feel comfortable.
- What’s your full name and how did you get it or what does it mean, or why did your parents pick it?
- What is a hard-learned lesson from your life?
- Who has been a spiritual hero in your life?
- Finish this sentence, “In order for a small group to feel safe, I need …”
Transitional Ice Breaker Questions
Transitional Ice Breaker Questions are the ones to use when calming the group down to help them begin to think about the study. You will need to come up with these questions yourself based on the study you are going through.
For instance, if you were studying through the book of Psalms and wanted the group to begin thinking about the topic, you could ask something like; “What is your favorite Psalm?” or “Have any of you read through the entire book of Psalms?” or “Does anyone know how many authors wrote the book of Psalms”
If you were going through a study based on a topic such as Discipleship you could ask; “Have you ever been discipled by anyone in the past?” or “Can you think of anyone other than Jesus who showed us how to disciple in the Bible?” or “Do you feel called to disciple someone right now?”
Ice Breakers are one of the best ways to get to know the people in your group. They can’t, however, replace the intimacy of a one on one conversation. If you feel like a member of your small group needs some encouragement, don’t hesitate to ask them out to coffee. Small groups thrive when leaders and members are sensitive to the needs of the group and take on the responsibility to build each other up.
What are your favorite Ice Breaker Questions? Do you have any stories of fun Ice Breaker conversations from your small group? Comment below with your thoughts!