Maybe you’re a small group leader who is struggling in your leadership? Maybe it’s the unique blend of personalities? Perhaps you weren’t given much training? Sometimes you just need a bit of a spark to ignite the group.
Each week after some hang time we transition into the “study” time by doing an “opening question.” Most of the time these questions are random and fun. The point is to get every student to feel comfortable talking in front of the rest of the group. Though silly, it really does accomplish the goal. Here you can establish the principle that whomever is speaking should be respected and heard.
Sample questions (just ask one per week):
If you could permanently close a fast food chain, which one would you abolish and why?
If you could be in a sitcom or cartoon (as yourself), which one would you be in and why?
Occasional Intentional Experiences
Instead of a regular “bible study” or “cell group” night— take a field trip. Shared experiences outside of the norm create a sense of anticipation. Whether it is a service project or a meal out use it to teach a principle, learn a spiritual application or to simply get the students to think differently.
Sample experience: Take your students to Target give them a list of the others in your group and a total imaginary budget of $X (figure about $30 per person, but tell them a total, rather than a per person) and tell them they have 30 minutes to write down what they’d buy for each person in the group and why. Meet at the food court or Starbucks area of the store after the fake shopping and have each student share what they would have bought for each person and why. You’ll likely have some times of laughter, and be blessed by some heart-warming thoughtfulness.
Show and Tell
Everybody remembers the anticipation of Show and Tell day in Preschool and Kindergarten! On occasion (maybe once a year) you can use this in small group. Have students bring an item which is significant to his/her spiritual life. I have seen students bring something from camps, elementary Bible club or a picture from a mission trip. Even if a student forgets, you can always grab a Bible and the student can share a favorite verse and the story behind why it’s important to him/her.
What are some other Small Group ideas you can share to help a group try something new?