The start of small group is one of the most challenging segments of the group time. Starting a meaningful and spiritual discussion in the first few minutes of group is like trying to herd cats.  You know what I am talking about, don’t you?

The large group talk just got done and you get back to your small group room and your students are either dead silent or doing everything in their power trying NOT to talk about what was just talked about.

So how does a SGL automatically generate conversation of out thin air?

Ask “get to know you” questions to your few.

That’s right.  Break the ice.  Start with small talk in the first 5-8 minutes of your small group time.  How you handle the first few minutes with your few will shape how the rest of your small group time will go.

Most students need to start talking about nothing before they start talking about something – that really matters.  In fact, the SGL can use the first minutes of their small group time to learn about their few and show a genuine interest in what they are talking about.

Ask questions, listen and be interested in what they are saying.

This is why it’s so great to have different types of trigger questions to ask in order to get the conversation going.

Here are three different types of questions, including sample questions, to get teenagers talking:

(1)   What if questions

For example:

What if you could be one what cereal box cartoon character for just 24 hours?

What if you were to perform in the circus- what would you do?

What if you were to get a tattoo- what would it say or what would the graphic be?

What if the world was half the size it is now?

What if sports didn’t exist?

What if TV didn’t exist?

What if you didn’t have parents?

What if you were able to fly?

What if you won a million dollars- what would you do with it?

What if you were a smurf- what would your name be?

(2)   Would you rather questions

For example:

Would you rather…

  1. Live one 1,000-year life?
  2. Or live ten 100-year lives?

Would you rather…

  1. Eat chocolate-flavored poop?
  2. Or eat poop-flavored chocolate?

Would you rather…

  1. Take a vacation to somewhere warm
  2. Take a vacation to somewhere cold

Would you rather…

  1. Be 3 feet tall
  2. Be 8 feet tall

Would you rather…

  1. Be a tree
  2. Live in a tree

Would you rather…

  1. Be invisible
  2. Read minds?

For more Would You Rather questions — Doug Field has an excellent book that has helped me tremendously titled Would You Rather….?

(3)  “About you” questions.

For example:

Do you have pets?  If so, what is their name?

What kind of music do you listen to?

What is your favorite store and restaurant?

Where is the coolest place you have ever been in your whole life?

Who do you admire the most?

What’s your favorite holiday?

Who’s your favorite super hero?  Why?

What’s your favorite pair of shoes?  Why?

Are you a listener or a talker?

What internet sites do you surf the most?

Favorite youtube video?

 

Always have a few great questions in your back pocket to ask your few at the beginning of your small group time.

And if you have some great questions you have asked your few, please share in the comment section below.

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Jeremy holds a B.A. in Communication from University of Minnesota as well as a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has a passion for connecting with and learning from student pastors, deliberatively researching, reading, and blogging about student ministry and family ministry, dabbling with online technology and experimenting in ministry lifestyle design and productivity in the church. Jeremy and his wife, Mikaela, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he serves as an Orange Specialist with the XP3 Student team.

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