As summer is winding down our student ministry has been gearing up for an incredible year. For us, this largely means new small groups!! Our assignments came out last week and I was super excited to find out that I am teaching freshman girls. Not to mention– I have a rock star co-leader (HEY Natalie!).
Even though I’ve done this for years, I’ll be honest and admit that starting a new small group always makes me a little nervous. Each group is so different and I have no idea what personalities are going to walk in the door. I, however, want to do everything I can to establish a small group culture that values discussion.
So what do you do if your new small group just stares at you when you ask a question? Here are a few ideas to help your girls wake up (if you’re fighting the 8am sleepiness) and get ready to engage with the material!
3 Easy Game Ideas to Get Your New Small Group Talking
Instead of opening a small group with a broad question like, “What words come to mind when I say the word ‘gospel?’” – mix it up and make it a competition! The basic concept of Great Minds Think Alike is that both partners want to write down the same words for each category you give them in order to earn points. You can choose fun, wacky categories and also categories that will relate to your lesson. It will get everyone participating and will give you WAY more answers than you would normally receive if you simply asked a question. Read the full rules here!
Tip: Split up friends and get girls mingling by doing one round of “Rock-Paper-Scissors” before you begin a partner game. Since most girls will play Rock-Paper-Scissors with their closest friend, have winners partner with other winners for the next game and vice versa.
My Life in Random Objects
This is a get-to-know you activity that needs very little preparation. Before small group, fill a box with a random assortment of items (I normally walk through my house and pick up objects like duck tape, a Frisbee, a rubber band etc.). Instruct the students to take one item that somehow describes what their year was like last year. After each student has chosen an item, divide the small group in half and let each student explain why they chose their particular item to the group. This is also a great opportunity to cast your vision for where the group can be at the end of this school year!
Newspaper Scavenger Hunt
To say I love this game is an understatement. It is hysterical to watch and super easy to do. All you need is one newspaper for each group of 2-3 students. Prior to starting the game, you will want to have picked out ten items you will challenge everyone to find (for example – Find a house selling for $208,000). Immediately after you read your first item, each group will begin searching for it. The first group who can show it to you gets a point. Repeat this for the whole list until you have a winner and be prepared for newspapers to start flying! (Hint: This works GREAT with middle school!)
Do you have an idea that you have used in the past when starting with small groups?