Small groups and teen activities in general can sometimes feel a little awkward in the Church environment.
When I plan a small group I usually have a few ideas for an introductory activity up my sleeve. I’m usually flexible about which one to use until I arrive. If there are new members of the group it maybe important to do something with a ‘get to know you’ element but if it your regular crowd and its obvious someone is having a rough time something massively fun and lively may not be right..
1. How has your week been or what has God done for you in the last week?
To be honest, the kids I minister too maybe sick of this question. I am always asking it. The reasons feel obvious to me because its been part of my arsenal for so long. Firstly I think it is important for groups to share as much as they feel comfortable doing. This question gives an opportunity for that to happen. I always add a little about my week – good or bad. Also, I love giving kids the chance to talk about how God has moved in their lives, even if its at the level of ‘I asked Jesus to help me find a place to sit for lunch, and he did’ its a great barometer of where your kids are spiritually and a great way to start a guided discussion.
2. Crazy stuff from the Internet!
It’s cheap, easy, and simple to link to your theme. Find something that’s trending online and connected to your theme (last week I used 23 Things That will Destroy Your Concept Of Time, when talking about the timeline in Genesis 1).
3. A Game.
Games are the go to for many youth teams, personally I probably don’t’ use them as often as I could. I have a great book of games which I rely I on (Over 600 Icebreakers & Games), it’s a Kindle book so it’s always on hand for that last-minute change of plan though.
4. Videos or Animations
Showing video clips is one of my favourite uses for my iPad in youth ministry. A funny clip can just help kids talk, and a thoughtful one can help them think….
5. A Quiz.
This can either be in a soft format, where you gently tease out student’s knowledge of a topic, or, it can be a quick-fire pop-quiz thing. I do love to burst into the room and shout “pop quiz. It helps me release my inner Snape
What’s your favourite way of starting a group session?