- An icebreaker must be appropriate for the group. If it’s too childish, people will not feel comfortable. If it’s too threatening, people will draw back.
- Make it clear that everybody is expected to participate.
- Some icebreakers can be used many times.
- Be alert for a person in crisis as the icebreaker is shared.
- Icebreakers become shorter and less important as the group becomes tightly knit over the course of the cell cycle. You might spend 1/2 the time on an ice breaker the first two meetings, but you only need to spend 10 or 15 minutes after a few months.
The Name Game
Source : Unknown
Comments : This one is useful whenever there are new people who don’t know everyone else’s names (especially during the first meeting).
Everyone should be seated in a circle or oval.
- The leader starts by stating his or her name.
- The next person to the right (or left) repeats the first person’s name and then his or her own.
- The third person repeats the first two names and then his or her own.
- The game continues moving around the circle with each person repeating in order the names of all of the preceding people and ending with his or her own. The game ends when the “naming” has gone full circle.
This game involves two competing advantages. The first few people only have a few names to remember. The last few people have a lot of names to remember, but they benefit from having heard the repetition of all of the names by the ones who went before them.
Comments: Use in the first session, when people don’t know each other at all.
Between the ages of 7 and 12…
- Where did you live? How many brothers and sisters did you have?
- What kind of transportation did your family use?
- Who was the person you felt closest to?
- When did God become more than a word to you?
Pick some questions from the following list:
Comments: In a group of 10 people, each question should take about 5 minutes.
- What was the happiest moment of your life?
- Tell us about your first date?
- What is the greatest regret of your life?
- The hardest thing I have ever done…
- The greatest compliment I ever received.
- Let me tell you about my best earthly friend…
- What room in your house do you like best?
- What is the one thing you want to accomplish next week?
- Where did you feel warmest and safest as a child?
- If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit?
- When was the last time you did something for the first time?
- Which of the following restrictions could you best tolerate: leaving the country permanently, or never leaving the state in which you now live?
- At a meal, your friends start belittling a common friend. What do you do?
- If you could take a pill that would enable you to live until you reach 1000 years, would you do it? Why?
- When you do something stupid, how much does it bother you to have other people notice it and laugh?
- Would you like to know the exact date of your death?
- If you could change two things about the way you were raised, what would they be? If you came from a divorced family, how did it affect you?
- Who is your favorite relative? Why?
- What is your favorite memory time spent, as a child, with your father? Your mother?
- Who did God use to bring you to the point where you knew you needed Jesus?
- If you could change places with a Bible character, who would you choose? Why?
- What is your favorite book of the Bible? Why?
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- What is your favorite movie or TV show?
- Who has had the greatest influence on your life since we last gathered?
- What was the best thing that happened to you this past week?
- Recall a time when you failed recently
- Name someone you admire who had to overcome great obstacles to get where they are now.
- What do you value most in a human relationship? In your relationship with Christ? Your parents?
- How do you react when you aren’t thanked for going out of your way for someone?
- What is your favorite time of day?
- Singles: The girl/boy I want to marry.
- Couples: What caused me to marry my spouse.
- My greatest disappointment…
- The gift I will never forget (apart from my conversion)…
- What was the most important event in your life this past week?
- If you could chose to go anywhere in the world for 3 days, where would you go, and why?
- If you could choose to meet anyone who ever lived in America, who would that be, and why would you like to meet him/her?
- If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, where would you live, and why?
- What gift (spiritual, emotional, mental, etc.) do you believe you are bringing to this meeting? (In other words, what do you think you are bringing that will-or may-contribute to the encouragement of others- or the building-up of the “church”?)
- Describe a significant experience in your life that changed your value system completely.
- What are some of your goals for the year ahead?
- Who are your parents, what did they do and what would you like to change about them?
- If I could choose my career over again I would …
- What is your position in your family – first second etc. What would you have liked to swap about this position?
- If you became the leader of any country in the world, which would it be and why?
- Share the best and worst experience of your week
- If you could take a free 2 week trip to any place in the world where would it be and why?
- If you could talk to any one person now living, who would it be and why?
- Give every one a piece of paper and ask them to draw a picture of their jobs or whatever they do on a daily basis. Explain your sketches.
- Ask each person to say why he or she is glad to be in a cell group tonight.
- Briefly describe some strong and some weak points in your relationship with your eldest child or your parents-in-law or your husband.
- Inform everyone that they have just been given $1,000,000. Let each share how they would use their newly gained fortune.
- Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
- What nicknames do you have for your husband and children?
- Is there an era in time that you would have liked to have lived in, if so, why?
- Has the cell group been a help to you? Spend time talking about it and thanking each other.
- Tell the cell group 3 things you appreciate about your family and 3 ways in which you find them difficult at times.
- What is the best thing that has ever happened in my family? …my cell group? …the world?
- One thing I would really like to see happen at the moment in my family? … my church? … my cell group? … the world?
- Who is the best friend you have at this point in your life?
- Have you had an answered prayer recently – share the story
- What is your occupation? What do you enjoy about it?
- Who has been the greatest influence on your Christian life and why?
- What book, movie, video have you seen/read and why would you recommend it?
- What do you think delights God above everything else in your life?
- What is the most encouraging thing said to you this week?
- What encouraging action have you done to someone this week?
- What made you decide to attend this church?
- What made you decide to live in …<insert your city>?
- What do you still want to accomplish with your life?
- What is your most embarrassing experience?
- For what are you thankful?
- What is the most memorable event of your life and why?
- Share the most meaningful scripture to you and why is it so meaningful?
- How did you and your partner meet and what made you start going out together or what kind of person would you like to have as your partner?
- How would your life be different if you knew Jesus was returning on ??/??/?? (fill in some date in the near future).
- Who is the most interesting person you have met?
- Talk about your favorite holiday spot and why you enjoy it there?
- Share about a spiritual experience you have had…
- What annoys you about your spouse/friend?
- Have you ever experienced healing in your body? – share
- How do you relax?
- What is your favorite type of music / song etc.?
- What has happened to you during this week that you would like to tell the rest of the group?
- The last time I got really angry was …
- If you could not fail, what would you like to do?
- If you had to live your life over what would you change?
- What do you want written on your tombstone?
- What do you want said at your funeral?
- What don’t you want said at your funeral?
- If you were to go and live on the moon and could carry only one thing, what would it be?
- What would you do if you were to see …
- a person being robbed?
- a person drowning?
- a house on fire?
- One thing which has stressed me out this week…
- One thing which makes me feel guilty …
- One thing which I do not understand about the opposite sex is …
- If you had this week / … over again what would you do differently?
- Describe another small group that you were a member of outside of your church, and tell us why you thought the group worked (or didn’t work). You’re not limited to “religious” groups (most of us meet in small groups at work).
- What is the most memorable Bible you have received (i.e. from Baptism, wedding, conversion, etc.)? Tell us about why it’s meaningful to you.
- What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?
- What are the biggest questions that you have about your relationship with God?
- Under what circumstances do you feel most lonely? Least lonely? Why?
- In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God? Other people? Yourself?
- Why do you get up in the morning? The purpose is to find out what the motivating forces are in this person’s life. It is a simple question, but it takes a good deal of thought to answer honestly.
- When was the last time you admitted you were wrong? Why is it so hard to do?
- What have you learned recently from another believer?
Truth and Lies
Source: Gary Bisaga
From: Gary Bisaga email@example.com
Description: Everybody writes down three true things about themselves and one lie. Everybody then first decides which slip of paper went with which person, and which of his statements was the lie. You may leave out the first part i.e. each person holds up their piece of paper and people just guess which statement is the lie. (It’s not fair if somebody picks a lie very close to the truth).
Source: Garth Wunsch
From: Garth Wunsch firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: Select a group of tiny items that cause you to think of things of the faith… e.g. packet of yeast; some seeds; piece of bread; package of salt, etc. Tie a string to each one, place loosely in a large paper bag with the strings hanging out. Go around the group and have each person pick a string. After each one has their “prize”, you start at the first person (they’ve had longest to think) and ask them to briefly state a spiritually significant thought that the item brings to mind. You will be astounded at the wonderful answers you get from people who never talk… and answers you never thought of (that’s really amazing!!!) I usually leave one or two strings empty. The person who draws the blank gets to share anything they want…. perhaps, as one person in our group did, what the empty string signifies.
Source: Small Group Leader’s Handbook (InterVarsity Press)
From: David Limiero CrossTrnr@aol.com
Description: Go around the circle, beginning with the leader, and describe how you are feeling right now in terms of a weather report — partly cloudy, sunny, etc. Participants can explain why they chose that type of weather. Leader sets the example for depth.
Source: Small Group Leader’s Handbook (InterVarsity Press)
From: David Limiero CrossTrnr@aol.com
Description: Form the group into pairs. Blindfold one person in each pair. Each unblindfolded person leads a blindfolded person around the general vicinity of the meeting place. Try to provide many different experiences — take them up some stairs, go outside and inside, help them feel different objects, walk at different paces, walk on different materials (grass, floors, dirt) but say nothing after the walk has started. You must nonverbally communicate all messages. After about five minutes, change places. After another five minutes the group regathers. Share what kinds of feelings you had as you were blindfolded and as you touched objects, etc. How did you feel about the other person? What was it like to have no control over what was happening? What did you learn about yourself? How does this apply to your relationship with God? with others?
Who Am I?
Source: I can’t remember, been doing it for years
From: Doug Hanley email@example.com
Description: You get bunch of slips of paper. Some Scotch Tape. Write the names of famous/bible characters on the slip. Place them on everyone’s back. The person cannot read his or her own slip. They are to go around the room asking one question at a time about who they are until they guess who they are. This is a fun way to get to know the people in a non-threatening game.
I bet you don’t know this
From: Tim DeGrado firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: Each person in the group writes down on a blank piece of paper something that he/she thinks that nobody in the group would know about him/herself. The pieces of paper are folded, mixed well, and numbered consecutively. Then a designated person starts to read them, saying the number first. Each member of the group begins to compile a list of people that they feel best match the number of each clue. After the last clue is read, the person with the most correct matches wins.
From: Jon Reid email@example.com
Description: If you have new people in your meeting sometime, you might keep the Penny Game in mind for an icebreaker. Give everyone 10 pennies. Each person must name one thing about himself/herself that is different from everyone else. (For example, an adventurous group member might say, “I have climbed Pikes Peak.”). The speaker puts a penny in the middle. If another player has also climbed Pikes Peak, he/she can put in a penny as well. The first person to get rid of all his/her pennies wins.
Cell Church Objectives
From: Ian Li-Jin Thng
Comments: Can be quite comical and also acts as a good reminder to the purpose of the cell group.
Description: We divided the group into 3 groups of 3. The leader handed each group a piece of paper with a theme written on it. E.g. cell group themes like Edification, Evangelism and Multiplication can be used. Each group is then required to perform a skit to let the other two groups guess the theme.
Source: Peter Kempkes and Karen Laforet
From: Kang Howson-Jan firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments: This works better early on in the life cycle of the group when the members still don’t know a few things about the others. We learn more from our mistakes, right?
Description: Write down on pieces of paper 4 or 5 innocuous questions that might reveal something about a person; e.g. what’s your favorite possession? What do you wish you could do that you can’t do now (e.g. play an instrument, swim, ride a bike)? What’s your ideal vacation? People could answer all of them or perhaps 3 (at least), but instruct them not to put their names on the sheet. The leader then collects the sheets and reads out the answers, and everyone tries to guess who gave those answers.
I have learned that…
From: Rogier (and Sophie) Bos email@example.com
Description: The leader passes out slips of paper that read ‘I have learned that ___________________’. The participants then fill in a lesson they have learned. The pieces of paper are gathered, and the group tries to match the ‘lessons’ with the authors. We actually did it twice in a row; I first instructed the group to write down a non-spiritual lesson. This caused a lot of hilarity, since some of the lessons were so funny. I then asked for a spiritual lesson. The night we did this we had a couple of guests, and one of them was quite into new Age thinking. She wrote ‘I have learned that every person creates his/her own reality’. As it turned out, it created an opportunity for a great discussion!
Source: Chris Kam
From: Chris Kam firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments: Suitable both in a cell group and larger meeting.
Description: Draw circle, triangle, square and the symbol “Z” on a piece of paper large enough for everyone to see. Then ask the group, which of these symbols do you identify with in terms of your character, and why do you say so? There’s is no “correct” answer.