Two Truths and a Lie
Each person tells three facts about himself, but one is not true. The group guesses which statement is the lie. After everyone has participated, ask questions of each person to find out the whole story behind one of the facts.
Have You Ever...
Have one less chair than people in a circle. The person in the middle says something he has done. Everyone who has also done that activity must run across the room and try to get a different seat while the middle person tries to find a seat. The one left out becomes the middle person and the game continues.
Bag Game – Make a Statement
Fill a brown paper bag with the following items: $20 bill, keys, shoe, piece of jewelry, Bible, and candy bar. One at a time each person in the group pulls an item from the bag and makes an honest statement about it that reveals something about him. For example, if I pulled a $20 bill from the bag, I might say, "If I had $20, I'd buy ice cream for everybody." Statements can be profound or simple. The first to start then passes the object to the right and that person makes a statement until everyone has said a statement about it. Then, pull the second item from the bag and continue. (From: Talking the Walk by Dave Bartlett & Bill Muir. Zondervan, 2000, p.61.)
Bag Game – How are You Different?
Fill a bag with cotton balls, stapler, scissors, paper cup, eyeglasses, paper clip, pencil with eraser, and wadded paper. One at a time each person grabs an object from the bag and names one way they are different from the item. Don't use obvious differences like "This is metal, and I'm not." Encourage creativity and self-revelation. For example, "Unlike this pencil, I don't have the equipment to make my mistakes go away. When I botch something, the evidence is usually right out in the open for everyone to see. I can't just go over it a few times and make it disappear. I have to live with the mistakes I make." Start with a group member and continue on until everyone has had a chance to speak. (From: Talking the Walk by Dave Bartlett & Bill Muir. Zondervan, 2000, p.66.)
Inside and Out
Hand out three magazines and a blank sheet of typing paper folded in half to each group member. Have several rolls of Scotch tape available. Tell the members something like this, "This is a two-part exercise. First, go through these magazines and find three to five pictures, phrases, or words that describe your outward life, the image you present to people, the way others see you. You can ask yourself this question, 'If someone followed me around for a week, what would they see?' Next, find three to five pictures, words, or phrases that describe your inner life, the thoughts and feelings you keep to yourself, the person you are in your heart. Think of some things that, good or bad, very few people know about you." Give them enough time to finish the project. One at a time, have everyone briefly explain their choices about the outside. Then, repeat and have them share the inside. (From: Talking the Walk by Dave Bartlett & Bill Muir. Zondervan, 2000, p.66-67.)
Each person starts the game with five points, keeping score on one hand. Each person in turn says something they have never done. Everyone who HAS done the activity loses one point and folds down one finger. The person with the last point remaining wins.
Everyone gets out their key ring and, one at a time, tells the significance of everything hanging on it.
Pass around a bag of M&Ms and let everyone take as many as they would like. Don't tell them anything else. Make sure they don't eat them yet. Then, have them tell one piece of information about themselves for every M&M they took. You can specify the topics based on the M&M color (yellow = family, red = high school story, green = a place they've traveled, etc.).
Have one person hold a ball of yarn in one hand and the yarn end in the other hand. As he throws the yarn ball to someone else, he says something positive about the recipient. The recipient holds onto the yarn and throws the ball to someone else saying something positive about him and the game continues. The yarn ball can be thrown multiple times to each person, each one holding onto the yarn as he throws the ball.
Variation #1: When someone catches the yarn ball, he tells something about himself before he throws it to someone else.
Variation #2: When someone catches the yarn ball, he tells a little known fact about himself before he throws it to someone else.
Have each person put one piece of information about himself in a balloon. Then, have each blow up his balloon and throw it in the middle of the circle of people. One by one, pop the balloons and guess to whom that piece of information belongs.
Hand out one Pictionary card to each person and have her tell stories about her life using three of the words on the card.
Participants are asked to consider whom they would choose to be if they had to be another person who has lived or is living (a real person). After they have chosen someone, the participants are next asked to reflect upon why they selected this person. When all are ready to share, the facilitator explains the process: A volunteer goes first, telling the person she would like to be and why. The next person sitting to the left first recalls what the volunteer shared and then shares her selection, etc., going around the circle.
Give each person an index card. Have them divide the index card into four sections. In one section, they draw a picture of their favorite TV show, in another section their favorite state, in the third section their favorite book or magazine, and last, their favorite food. Everyone walk around the room showing each other their cards. The object is to try to guess what the other people drew on their card. Do not tell each other whether their guesses are right or wrong; just listen. After everyone has guessed at each others' card, go around the circle and tell what your favorites are.
Divide the group into groups of two, preferably with the person they know least. Send each dyad off by themselves where they won't be bothered by other dyads. For ten minutes have them share personal and important things with each other in order to know each other better. Take turns "interviewing" each other to gain some knowledge and understanding of their partner. After ten minutes, come back to the group and have each person tell what she learned about her partner. For a guide you may want to prepare a list of basic questions the dyads can use as a starting point.
Toilet Paper Game
Get a roll of toilet paper. Without giving any other information, pass around the roll and tell each person in the group to take as much toilet paper as they need. Then, one at a time, group members tell one thing about themselves for each piece of toilet paper they took.
Each person is given a magazine, tape, scissors, and a piece of paper. They are to create a collage that describes themselves using pictures or individual words that they find. Then, explain the collage to the group.
Give these instructions: Paint a word picture to describe with as many details as you can how you feel about your life right now. For example, if you were to describe your life as a boat, be specific. You might be a cruise ship or a tugboat, on a calm lake or raging river rapids depending on how you feel things are going in your life. The more details you add to your picture, the easier it will be for the group to understand how you're doing. You might add where you see Jesus in your word picture. (From: Talking the Walk by Dave Bartlett & Bill Muir. Zondervan, 2000, p.63.)
At the beginning of the group meeting, warn the members that, at the end, there will be a listening check for what they learned about each other during the meeting. At the end of the meeting, choose one person from the group to focus on at a time. The rest of the members take turns recalling information they learned about the person during the meeting. Ideally, everyone in the group should contribute at least one thing. After most of the group has spoken, move the focus to another person. Continue until everyone has had her turn in the spotlight. (From: Talking the Walk by Dave Bartlett & Bill Muir. Zondervan, 2000, p.12-13.)
Give these instructions: Draw a picture of your family table. Place yourself at the head of the table. Arrange the rest of your family around the table with the ones you feel closest to sitting closest to you and the ones you are less close to sitting farther away. Then, explain the picture to the group to the level you feel comfortable.
Like Charades, one person acts out a word or phrase that pertains to his life. For instance, he could act out "born in Pennsylvania" or "studying math" or whatever else he would like to tell. For more guidance, provide categories: favorite book, movie, food, place; hobby, interest, travel goal, etc.
Everyone writes on a slip of paper three things about themselves that no one in the group knows. Gather the papers and mix them up. One person reads one at a time and the group tries to guess who it is.
How to Lead a Small Group
Components of a Small Group
Small Group Guidelines
Practical Solutions to Common Small Group Dilemmas
Leading an Effective Discussion
Build Your Own Bible Study
Worship Ideas for Small Groups
Prayer Ideas for Small Groups
Praying with Others
Feedback for Discussion Facilitators
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