Have you ever walked into a place where everyone just stood around for an hour until the main event started?
I have a few times, and it was very awkward for me especially since I am not outgoing, so starting conversations with people I do not know very well is a rare occurrence.
At all of the best parties I have been to, there were several different things to do that would break the ice and spark a conversation between me and an acquaintance.
My recommendation for church leaders or event planners is to give people ways of communicating with others that will break down barriers and allow for everyone to experience the comfort of opening up to others.
5 Activities to Break the Ice at Your Church Events
1. Set up card tables for card games or board games
My absolute favorite way to get to know people and to let my guard down is through playing games.
Game playing causes people who would not normally speak with each other to interact for the purpose of winning the game.
This is honestly how I got to know my in-laws when I first started dating my husband. It works well for me with other people, too.
2. Plan ice-breaker activities as people walk in
Back in high school, I used to go to this student group based out of CRU called Student Venture.
Before the start of every session or lesson, the youth leader organized a large group activity.
We all stood in a circle, had to follow a pattern of hand-clapping around the circle, and would get out after three strikes.
This activity lasted a half an hour, so we played twice.
Another activity could be Octa-ball, which is a game where everyone stands in an octagon structure. There is one ball that people can touch with their hands. If it touches someone’s feet, that person is out.
Another thing to do is a relay race. This is tricky while people trickle in, but once you have enough people where there are three groups of 3 or 4 people, you can start.
There are countless other options as well, like four square, around the world (a ping pong game), and so on.
3. Create a people search on a piece of paper and hand them out as people walk in
A people search, for example, describes an attribute and requires the participants to walk around the room and ask others if they fit that attribute.
For example, the people search would say: find someone who has more than one cat, or: find someone who has been out of the country.
Another paper activity is the road trip game. It starts by breaking guests into two groups and give them a map of the United States. Give each group a starting point, 1000 dollars, a car and the gas mileage.
The team that visits the most places with the most amount of money and gas left wins!
Visit this website for more ideas like this one!
4. Set up a game show game for two or more groups to play
The leader will have to participate in this as the game show host.
You can arrange to play Family Feud, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and so on.
You could also play games like hangman and tic-tac-toe.
5. Set up games like Catch Phrase or spoons
Set up games that can include a large amount of people. These games can easily accommodate people who are still walking in.
I once played a game of spoons with twenty people during a youth group event. Even after people got out, they still wanted to watch because of how hilarious it was to see everyone’s reactions.
6. Set up outdoor activities in a grassy area or a parking lot
If you church or group meeting space has a large yard or parking lot, make room for capture the flag, volleyball, or football.
At the last retreat I went to, a bunch of middle aged people joined in on the outdoor activities with the younger generation!
And the Last Thing You Should Do…
After the fun meet and greet time is over, gather all of your group members together for a time of prayer.
Have everyone stand in a circle and hold hands. Give thanks for the time you all had to spend together.
Before beginning your lesson or talk, remind the group members of why you all just participated in those ice breaker exercises.
Explain how these exercises were set in place to bring people together who would have otherwise not communicated with each other.
Remind everyone of how the body of Christ is more than just a phrase and it’s more than just a bunch of individuals who believe in Jesus.
The body of Christ is about those same individuals coming together as a community.
To worship with us, visit the Inbound Church <–Click!