Gone are the days when I used to visit the church every Sunday and attend church gatherings regularly. For all these years, I was associated with the church. I used to organize fests and social activities in the church. I was an active member of the committee organizing educational and fun activities for kids, youngsters and the elderly. For the last three years, I have not been able to get out of the house due to my illness. I think of those beautiful years of my life, when I worked for the church and was in the Almighty’s service. I was so happy then. But, today I am all alone. All I can do is hope for a recovery. But I know, I am going to get out of this and I will soon be able to offer my services to the church once again. I have already started thinking of the first church gathering I shall attend after my recovery. Yes, it’s going to be the happiest day of my life… – A page from Aunt Joan’s diary
Icebreakers for Church Gatherings
Icebreakers make the best beginning for any gathering. Be it an office meeting or a family get-together, a school reunion or a party, icebreaker activities serve as excellent energizers in gatherings of all kinds. They function as effective conversation starters and add to the fun element of a get-together. Let us look at some interesting ways of breaking the ice at a church gathering.
Icebreaker Games: ‘Know your Religion’ is one interesting icebreaker game, wherein each participant is asked quick questions revolving around the basic knowledge of Christianity. As an extension to this game, you can divide the guests into teams of 4 or 5 and provide each team with a handout carrying a pre-designed passage. Ask each team to select Bible-related terms or Bible characters from the given passage. The team that finds the maximum terms is declared as the winner. You can even encourage some of the participants to recite their favorite Bible verse or share something that they have learned from the Bible. ‘Which biblical figure I am’ is another interesting icebreaker game that can be used for a church gathering. It’s played with two teams where members of one team are given names of biblical characters. Each member describes the character he/she is given and the members of the opposite team try to guess who he is. You can vary this game by giving biblical names to members of one team. Each member describes the meaning of his/her name and members of the opposite team try to guess which name it is. This game tests the participants’ knowledge about characters from the Bible and biblical names. Or you can always organize common games like truth or dare, pass-the-parcel, musical chairs and Bingo as church gathering icebreakers and get the guests started!
Icebreaker Questions: Throw a rapid-fire questionnaire to the guests or allow each of them to take turns to answer some witty, funny icebreaker questions. You can start by asking the guests to introduce themselves and gradually turn to some fun-questionnaires. Ask them to relate the most funny moment or most memorable experience of their life. If you have a children’s gathering, you can ask them about their favorite comic character, favorite food or their hobbies. Such questions allow the participants to know each other, making it easier for them to intermingle. To give a spiritual touch to the ice breaker activity, you can frame questions like, “Did you encounter God?” or “Which Bible character would you like to be?” or “Share a recently answered prayer.” Questions about divinity and spirituality can strike interesting conversations, thus serving as an excellent beginning for a church gathering.
‘Knowing Each Other’ Games: This section of icebreakers consists of fun games that can be used to help the participants know each other before the church gathering. A game called, ‘what comes first’ can be a great choice for an icebreaker activity. For this game, the guests are divided into two teams such that each one gets a partner. Have one participant from each pair begin with a random word, to which the other partner responds with the word that comes to his/her mind reflexively. Listening to different responses is fun, while it also speaks about a person’s approach towards life. Asking each participant to state two words that describe him/her best or to state one thing he loves or hates the most, are some other exercises that help people know each other. To help the kids to mingle with each other, assemble the kids wearing the same color, or those sharing the same birth months. Group the kids together and help them to start a conversation. You can choose to group them in any way, but make sure no one is made to feel left out in this effort. You might like to have each of the guests describe their favorite possession or share their daily schedule with the rest. You can devise other such ‘knowing each other’ exercises. They make an interesting beginning. The team formation itself can be done with the help of an interesting game. Take an example of this game called ‘tune in’. Have songs written on chits of paper and distribute them randomly to the participants. Each bears the name of a song. (The number of songs chosen should be equal to the number of teams you wish to have. Thus, there will be multiple chits with the same song written on them). Each participant has to hum the song written on his paper and go finding others humming the same. Participants with the same song form a team!
Don’t let the icebreakers consume all the time at the church gathering. Make sure they are not so childish that the participants feel uncomfortable playing them. Also ensure that the icebreaker games are not threatening to the extent that people tend to draw back. Keep the icebreaking session short and simple. Icebreaker games are like the first course of a meal; smaller the better!