A Note from Lifeway Girls: Today we begin a new Monday series called “The Basics” to provide you some basic ministry tools that can better equip you to lead your girls. We know how easy it is to overcomplicate the idea of what it looks like to disciple and minister to teen girls, which is why we want to help you get back to the basics. This fun post gives you some simple ideas to engage your girls regardless of your ministry context!
I’ll admit, I’m the person who’s less than thrilled when it’s time for the ice breakers at small groups or events. However, when our new small groups began and I was faced with a mix of girls who didn’t know each other very well, I knew ice breakers were a needed aspect of our small group.
I think it’s really important that both us and the girls we lead know the purpose behind ice breakers. An ice breaker isn’t simply about having a fun game, but they’re a tool to help us build deeper relationships. Ultimately, I want ice breakers to be a launching point for meaningful fellowship, accountability, and conversation. I also want to encourage girls to go past sharing the basic facts- siblings, school, etc.- because often, that’s information everyone knows anyway. I love finding ice breakers that are low-prep (because they’re are usually the thing I’m very last minute in planning) but that also encourage girls to go past the surface.
Here are a few ice-breakers I’ve used with my girls:
Color-Coded Conversation. For this ice breaker, you need candy that comes in different colors (think M&Ms or Skittles). Tell your girls a specific number of candies to grab (this varies depending on how much time you have), and then for each candy color, have a “category” of things to share about themselves. For example, for every “red” they have, they share a favorite memory. Categories could be music, shows/movies, strengths/weaknesses, sports/extra curriculars, and any others you might think of!
Toilet Paper Tell-All. For this, you simply need a roll of toilet paper. Pass the roll around and tell the girls to take as much as they need (but don’t tell them why!). Once everyone has some, ask them to share at least 1 fact about themselves for every sheet of toilet paper they have. To encourage girls to go deeper, set some ground “rules” for their facts, like they can’t share things most people already know about them.
Commonalities Chat. For this, you need something to write on and something to write with. Depending on your location and the size of your group, options could be posters, a whiteboard, or notebook paper. You could also do this as one large group, or break up into groups of 3-4. Ask girls to write down everything they have in common, but eliminate the obvious things (school/church). I love this because it encourages conversation that goes a little deeper than, “We’re all the same age” or, “We all go to the same school.” Once they share their lists, ask girls to individually share one thing they think makes them unique from the group. This is awesome to lead into discussions on unity in the body of Christ (I did this one along with a Bible study in Ephesians 4).
People BINGO. For this, you need to create a BINGO board where each square has some sort of fact in it- traveled out of the country, perfect attendance, plays a sport, is an only child, etc. Give each girl a BINGO board and pen, and to fill up their board, they have to ask other girls if that fact applies to them or not. When girls say, “yes!”, they initial the space. To ensure girls are actually having conversations and not just sticking with their friends they know well, implement the rule that they must ask the question (they can’t just have a friend initial because they already know they’re an only child, etc.) and limit the number of times each girl can initial their board (so they can’t fill it up after just talking to 1 person!). After, talk about if they learned anything new and if they found out things they had in common.
Testimony Sharing. Of course, a very low-prep way and honestly the best way for everyone to go deep is by sharing testimonies. It’s great if you as the leader lead the way. What a wonderful way for your girls to begin to see your heart by sharing with them how Christ as worked in your life! After you share, girls who are willing can take turns each week sharing. Encourage them that this is a great, no-pressure way to “practice” before sharing their testimony at school or with a lost friend.
Now, I can’t take full credit for these! These have been found on Pinterest, teacher professional development days, and more, but I’ve tweaked them to fit the purpose of girls ministry. Don’t hesitate to make it clear your why behind these ice breakers. Use these as ways to create meaningful connections with one another, so that these simple games can ultimately be avenues to bring about deep conversations about the Lord.
Cassie Pattillo is a wife to Jack, and mama to Hunter (5), Isaac (3), and is in the process of adopting from India. Jack is a student pastor, so she loves serving alongside him and investing in teens’ lives. She is passionate about biblical literacy along with writing and teaching about Scripture. She is also a big fan of slow mornings with a cup of coffee, a good book on the beach, and Gamecock football.