Knowing God

We believe it is possible to know God. Not only that, but God wants to know us! Find out what it means to have a relationship with God.

Exploring Christianity

A six-part series looking closer into the basics of Christianity.

Answers to Common Questions

Articles providing insight into Christianity.

Student Life Media

A collection of Student Life videos about a range of topics, from stress to identity, love to faith and many more.

For New Christians

Some things to help as you begin your walk with Jesus.

Resources for Christian Growth

Resources providing useful insight into living the life God calls us to live.

Action Group Resources

Resources to help you teach others about Jesus, covering a wide range of topics and seeking to show how Jesus did ministry.

Action Group Resources

15 Great Icebreakers for Your Small Group

students on swingset swinging and reading bibles

 

Leading a small group of people who want to grow in their faith is a fun and exciting opportunity. But before you can lead others in things like Bible study, prayer and talking about their faith with others, you need to build community within the group. That’s where icebreakers come in.

Icebreakers are essential in creating an environment for everything else you want to do. They make it easier for people to begin getting to know each other. Someone new to your group might presume, for example, that everyone else already knows each other well, whether that is true or not.

Without icebreakers, a small group can be an intimidating environment.

The Effect of Icebreakers

Icebreakers are a simple and fun way to begin helping people bond. Without a sense of belonging and friendship, small groups will not last.

It’s important to use icebreaker activities that are easy to learn, non-threatening and fun. Since bonding is the goal, they should have an element of bonding. When you choose an icebreaker for your small group, think about the people who will be present.

  • What are their personalities like?

  • Are they friends with one another?

  • How will people respond to a game or to being asked questions?

It’s good to know who you’re serving so you can find the best icebreakers for them.

It is also helpful to think about which icebreakers work best during different seasons in the life of the small group. In the beginning stages of a small group, it is helpful to do more get-to-know-you games and questions so people feel known. As time progresses, changing up the icebreakers will bring new energy to the group. You can always ask your small group members what types of icebreakers they enjoy most as well and plan from there.

Below are 15 icebreakers for your small group or Bible study. Some options are more helpful for a group that’s in the early stages of forming while others are useful for building relationships in groups that have been together for a while. Use your best judgment about which icebreakers will work best for your group.

The icebreakers included here are mostly based on having small groups of around 10 people. Your small group may be slightly larger than that, and if that’s the case, please factor that in when choosing an appropriate icebreaker. The size of your group will directly impact the time you need to allow.

Icebreaker Questions

1. Best / Worst

Description: Best/worst is a simple icebreaker to implement in your small group. Ask each person to share their best and worst moments from the previous week. The entire icebreaker should not take longer than 10-15 minutes depending on how large your group is. This is an easy one to use and gives you good feedback on how the people in your group are doing in a general sense.

Ideal group size: Any size group.

Great for: Any group. The longer the group has been meeting, the more honest the answers will be. If you use this with a group of people who do not know each other well, the answers may be short and surface-level. Persevere, and people will become more comfortable with each other.

Tips: If people are not engaging with the question, you can prompt them with follow-up questions to help them remember what they did during the week. It can also help if you initiate the icebreaker by answering the question first, giving everyone else time to think about their answers.

2. Most Unique

Description: Go around the room and have each person share something that makes him or her unique or unusual, such as “I’ve never left the city I was born in” or “I am one of 10 kids.” The more unique the facts, the more fun the icebreaker becomes.

Ideal group size: Up to 15 people.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: Give examples of unique or unusual facts, and be willing to share your answer first. This activity often creates starting points for conversations between members.

3. Two Truths and a Lie

Description: Have each person make three statements about him or herself: two true statements and one lie. For example: “I’ve never broken a bone. I have five sisters. I was born in Fiji.” The group tries to guess which statement is the lie. This icebreaker should not take longer than 10-15 minutes.

Ideal group size: This game can be time consuming, so it’s better with 10 people or fewer. Consider breaking up a big group into a few smaller ones.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: The key to making this icebreaker fun is for people to come up with odd/interesting facts about themselves. The more seemingly random the better. Give people a few minutes before starting the icebreaker to come up with the facts about themselves. The lie becomes harder to spot when only a portion of it is false. For example: “I have five sisters” could be the lie if the person only has three sisters.

Keep the pace going by setting a time limit per player.

4. Get to Know You

Description: Most people will not know each other well in a group that’s just forming. Using this icebreaker helps create friendship and community within the group. Simply ask one of these questions and give everyone a predetermined amount of time to answer.

Your goal is not to answer all of these questions, but we have provided them to give you options.

  • What do you do for fun?

  • What would be your ideal holiday?

  • What is the most memorable activity you did with your family as a child?

  • What quality do you appreciate most in a friend?

  • What is one characteristic you received from your parents you want to keep and one you wish you could change?

  • What is a good thing happening in your life right now? What makes it good?

  • If you knew you could not fail and money was not an issue, what would you like to do in the next five years?

  • What would you like said about you at your funeral?

  • When, if ever, did God become more than a word to you, and how did that happen?

Ideal group size: Up to 15 people.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: If you want to use this icebreaker for your first small group, plan on spending most of the time answering the questions you have chosen from the list.

Give your group space to be open with one another. If the questions above do not fit your group, come up with your own. The important thing is for people to share about themselves and practice listening well.

5. House on Fire

Description: Ask the members of your group to imagine the following scenario: “Your house is on fire, and everyone is safe. You have 30 seconds to run through the house and collect three or four articles you want to save. What would you grab? Why?”

After everyone has done this, the group can discuss what they learned about the things they value.

Ideal group size: Up to 10 people.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: If you decide to discuss your group members’ answers to the question, allow extra time. You can also come back and discuss the answers in a later meeting. This would be a great icebreaker to use to launch a study about identity or values.

6. The M&M's Challenge

Description: Pass a bag of M&M’s around and tell everyone to take a few but not to eat them.

Ask each person to share something for every M&M. For example, for every red M&M, share a TV show you like; for every blue M&M, share a place you would love to travel; and for every yellow M&M, share something you appreciate about a friend. Let people eat the M&M’s as they share.

Ideal group size: Up to 15 people.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: This icebreaker can become as creative as you want it to be. Come up with any question that works well with your group. If your group needs to bond more, come up with a few questions that bring deeper answers to the surface. If your group needs to laugh together, come up with funny questions. This icebreaker will be a favourite because your group members will get to eat M&M’s.

Icebreaker Games

7. Personal Scavenger Hunt

Description: Have group members take one minute to find the following items in their wallets or bags: Something that ...

  • You’ve had a long time.

  • You’re proud of.

  • Reveals a lot about you.

  • Reminds you of a fun time.

  • Concerns or worries you.

Have each person share the first item. Encourage people to expand on their item and why it fits the topic prompt. For example, if they have an item that reminds them of a fun time, have them share the memory. Go around again sharing the second item and so on until you have gone through each prompt.

Ideal group size: Up to 15 people.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: It can be hard to tell how long this icebreaker will take. Some people will expand on their answers, others will not. If the activity is taking too long, you can stop the sharing portion and pick up the icebreaker again during the next week’s meeting.

If people do not have bags or wallets to look through, ask them to find pictures on their phones that might fit the prompts. Or ask them to recall what is in their wallets or bags if they do not have them physically.

8. You Write the Question

Description: Give each person a small slip of paper. Pick a topic and ask them to write down questions about that topic that anyone in the group could answer. For example, if you choose “friendship” as a topic, they can write down questions like “What do you value most in a friend?” or “Who was your best friend growing up and why?”

Pile all the slips of paper face down in the middle of the group and let people draw one. Some topic ideas include jobs, life goals, funny stories, hobbies, family, fears, dating issues, significant relationships and relationship with God. Go around the room until everyone has had a chance to draw and answer a question.

Ideal group size: Up to 15 people.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: If there are similar questions written, have the group come up with a new question on the spot for the person drawing the second one (or third, etc.). This will keep people engaged in the game and give everyone something to do.

9. Chart Your Life

Description: Give your group members pens and paper. Ask them to draw a line representing the movement of their lives between high times and low ones.

Invite people to think back as far as they can and mark significant moments along the line they have drawn. Ask them to consider the high points and low points, moments of inspiration, moments of despair, leveling-off times, and where they are now.

The charts will probably be a mixture of straight, slanted, jagged and curved lines. At the different points of their lines, have people either draw something or write a phrase to represent that season of their life. Ask people to make at least five different points on their chart to represent significant moments in their lives.

After everyone has drawn their lines, have people share what they’ve drawn and what it means with the group.

Ideal group size: Up to 10 people.

Great for: Groups that know each other but want to go deeper.

Tips: This one may take longer than many other activities. It might be good to have people draw their charts beforehand to bring with them. If people are willing to share honestly, this can be a great activity to help your group bond. Ask your group to share only one to three points on their graphs to save time, or have people share their whole graphs in smaller groups.

10. Telephone Pictionary

Description: Each person in the small group receives a piece of paper and a pen. Everyone writes a funny or unusual sentence at the top of their paper. Then, each person hands their piece of paper to the person on their left. Now everyone will have a piece of paper that is not their own. Each person draws out a picture of the sentence. They fold the paper so only the picture is seen. The paper gets passed to the left again. This next person will write out a sentence that describes the picture and fold the paper so only the sentence is seen. The game alternates between people drawing and writing out what they see as they continue passing each paper to the left.

The icebreaker ends when each person receives their original paper. Let everyone share their original sentence and the final sentence or picture.

Ideal group size: 5 to 15 people.

Great for: Any group.

Tips: This is a popular icebreaker. It usually produces lots of laughs as everyone shares their papers at the end of the activity. Plan on this game taking 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, you could shorten the time for drawing/writing between each passing of the pieces of paper.

11. Never Have I Ever

Description: Each person holds up their 10 fingers. Starting with one person, he/she states something true about themselves. The statement always starts with “Never have I ever...” and then the person states something they have never done before. For example, the first person says, “I have never been to Auckland,” everyone in a chair who has been to Auckland must lower one finger from their hand. The next person starts off again with a statement of their own. The aim of the game is to choose things that you have never done but you know others will have done before.

Ideal group size: Up to 10.

Great for: Newly formed groups.

Tips: This game is great for helping people get to know one another. Encourage group members to share their names before sharing their statements. Also, if you are short on time, decrease the number of fingers that you start with to 5.

12. Did You Know

Description: Ask each group member to give you one interesting or unusual fact about themselves before the group meets. Try to discover information that sets each person apart from the others, such as “I am named after my grandparent,” “I once dinged my car an hour after I got my restricted licence,” or “I have a twin.”

Then make a sheet with one fact from each person and a blank space to enter someone’s name beside this fact. Give everyone in the group a sheet and have them find out whose name goes in each blank. After everyone has completed their sheet, go through each fact and have the relevant person say if it's theirs.

Virtual Icebreakers

13. Would You Rather

Description: A fun way to keep participants engaged in virtual meetings is utilising the chat feature in your video conferencing software. Ask a “Would You Rather?” question aloud (for example, “Would you rather have two extra fingers or two extra toes?”) and tell participants to type their responses in the chat, along with their reason for why. Any funny or interesting responses? Ask that person to share more!

Ideal group size: 10 people or fewer.

Great for: Any group.

14. The Three Object Hunt

Description: Ask everyone to spend five minutes running around their home to find objects that represent how they are currently feeling emotionally, spiritually and physically. Once the group has regathered, have each person share their three items. Let them decide how deep they will go.

Ideal group size: 10 people or fewer.

Great for: Groups that know each other but want to go deeper.

Tips: It’s best to set a timer for five minutes or less to keep the icebreaker within an appropriate time frame.

15. Zoom Whiteboard Game - Write a Poem

Description: On Zoom, use the “share screen” feature and choose “whiteboard.” Tell the group that you will be writing a poem together and ask them to grab the book closest to them. Instruct them to flip to a specific place (for example, page 15, line 3), and then ask them to click on the “annotate” button, at the top under “view options.” The participants will type out that sentence of the book onto the whiteboard. As the host, make sure no one is typing over anyone else. Read the poem aloud, and have the participants share their book titles in the chat.

Ideal group size: 5-10 people.

Great for: Any group.

Tips: This is a fun way to learn what types of books the participants like to read and enjoy creating a story!

More on Leading a Small Group

We’re so glad you’ve taken the step of faith to lead a group, and we hope these icebreakers will be helpful. Whether it is an engaging question, an innovative game, or a unique activity, the icebreaker you utilise in your small group will create lasting memories for the people you have been called to invest in.

As you can see, icebreaker activities can be as engaging and creative as you make them. Use this list as a starting point to create your own games too.

For other tips and resources, sign up below for our weekly email series for small group leaders.

You can also find more help for leading a small group in the book “The Ultimate Roadtrip.” Ask your local staff to borrow a copy of this book.

Related Topics:
Bible Study

1994-2021. Student Life All Rights Reserved. A ministry of Tandem Ministries. Part of the Cru global network.