Ice breakers are difficult. Whether you are leading a new women’s bible study group, are a new member yourself, or participating for the first time, introductions can be tricky. Many of us are naturally shy and this can make for a tense first meeting no matter the topic. Bible study should be an inclusive and welcoming space, but this doesn’t take away from the natural coldness that a new group can exhibit until they get to know one another better. But breaking the ice doesn’t have to be a challenge.
Ask everyone to wear a statement piece.
If you are the group leader, asking every participant in advance to show up with their favorite hat or wearing Zodiac sign outfits that match up with their birth sign can be a great way to spark natural conversation among the group’s members. Talking about these inherent qualities can help in quickly establishing common ground among participants in order to spark personal connections in just a few seconds. They say first impressions can be formed in about seven seconds, and our wardrobe acts as a large piece of this. Having participants pay careful attention to curating their look based on a pre-established ruleset can help spark lively conversation before the session even begins.
Create a human map.
A great activity to use as an ice breaker is a human map. We all come from uniquely personal backgrounds, so have your participants imagine the floor as a map of the city or country and then get them to stand in the space they grew up. This can create a baseline for conversations about the values and norms that each member finds particularly interesting or important from their childhoods.
Deploy the classics: Two truths and a lie.
This is a time-honored tradition among new working groups. The premise is that each member divulges three facts about themselves, one being a lie while the other two must be true. The group then must try to determine which fact was a fib. This can be a great way to address stereotyping or other prejudice issues that may come up while determining the false fact. Remember that bible study is intended as a judgment-free discussion, so tackling any issues that arise here should be viewed as a learning opportunity.
Discuss favorite passages to begin the meeting.
Briefly discussing favorite bible passages can give your participants an opportunity to talk about something that isn’t directly related to themselves, shielding the more shy in the group from unwanted stress, while getting participants to discuss something they are familiar with and enjoy. Remembering that we are all here to talk about the bible and its meaning in daily life today is a great way to break the ice and begin a meaningful conversation on the living word from day one.
Start by making yourself vulnerable.
As the group leader, it’s your responsibility to make your members feel at home in this new environment. A great way to do that is to show them your own vulnerability in the first meeting. Talking about how the bible and your spirituality has helped you in difficult situations is a great way to show your members that the study group is a safe space to speak your mind.
Opening up yourself will invite others to do the same, giving your group a feeling of togetherness from the first meeting. This can feel scary, but remember that you may be asking your peers to do something that scares them, so taking the lead and conquering your own fears will show that the space is judgment-free. This can go a long way to providing that ice breaker that your study group partners need to get the ball rolling.
A bible study group is a great place to discuss some of the most pressing matters in our lives, start your group off on the right foot with a great ice breaker.
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