Small groups are a place to learn more about God together, and they need to be a safe place where we really know each other.
Small groups are fun, but sometimes they can become mundane and even monotonous at times. I have been to many small groups that are not enjoyable because they simply aren’t engaging. It is important to make small groups engaging, exciting, and involved because such an atmosphere will cause individuals to come back week after week.
If you need to shake things up and refresh your small group time, here are five creative ideas to get started:
1. Allowing for Less Awkward Introductions
The first creative idea to make small groups more engaging is to take time for introductions. It could be a while since everyone has introduced themselves or you may have had some new members join your small group. In either case, it’s always fun for every person in the small group to introduce themselves or reintroduce themselves. After all, most people like to talk about themselves and hear about other people. I personally am not a big talker, but I do like listening to other people.
Introductions give small groups a fresh, engaging twist because they help members build a stronger relationship with one another. Sometimes it can be hard to “break the ice” when we join a new small group, and by including a time for introductions, you can ease the awkwardness of a newcomer feeling they have to break the ice on their own. In fact, allowing people a comfortable space to introduce themselves allows everyone to find common ground or common interests and start building long-lasting relationships with each other. Small groups are a place to learn more about God together, and they need to be a safe place where we really know each other.
Group members will not only view introductions as engaging, but they will also view it as the small group team leader truly caring about them. Within small groups, this is crucial because they need to be a place where members know they can be vulnerable, accepted, and understood. If you are in need of a creative idea to make small groups more engaging, try implementing introductions at your next small group meeting and see how it goes.
2. Studying a Different Book of the Bible
A second creative idea to make small groups more engaging is to try to study a different book of the Bible. When I say "to study a different book of the Bible," I’m referring to studying an overlooked book of the Bible or a book the group is not very familiar with. It’s always good to study the Gospels or the Pauline Epistles, but incorporating a different book of the Bible could help engage the members better and help them learn new spiritual truths.
Some different books of the Bible you could study include Habakkuk, Joel, Amos, or Malachi. Each of these books of the Bible is often overlooked, but we can help bring more awareness to them through our Bible studies. By studying overlooked books of the Bible, we will be able to engage our small groups better and help deepen their understanding of the Scriptures. This way, they won't feel like the spiritual lessons are the same scriptures or the same spiritual concepts they have heard over and over.
If you are a small group leader, try studying a different book of the Bible that you haven’t studied before, or try to study an overlooked book of the Bible, such as one of the minor prophets.
3. Getting Outdoors
A third creative idea to make small groups more engaging is by going outdoors. I personally love going outdoors because it helps me clear my mind. Maybe nature helps you too. You could set up a table outside and serve snacks, or you could sit folding chairs around a bonfire. Being outdoors also helps members not feel as constricted as being in a closed room, and often, this helps us be more open with how we are feeling.
Going outdoors for your small group can also be done by taking a walk, going for a picnic, or going camping. Each of these is a fun idea that will keep your small group engaged for your meetings. I personally love taking walks with other believers because walking helps me open up more and talk as an introvert. There is something about walking and avoiding direct eye contact that helps me not feel as scared of talking with people. If you know there are some introverts in your small group, try getting everyone outside by sitting around the campfire, going for a walk, or having a picnic.
A fourth creative idea to make small groups more engaging is to try painting. This may sound odd at first, but it is a great activity to try for your small group. As the group leader, you could propose the idea that each member chooses to paint a scene out of the Bible or do a painting that reminds them of Jesus’ love. Even if not everyone is artistic in your small group, most people would enjoy trying to paint a Bible scene or a scene that reminds them of Jesus’ love.
During your small group time of painting, the group could talk as they paint or you could play worship music or instrumental music. Whatever you choose is great. Painting can help strike creative outlets within a person’s heart and help them express emotions that might have otherwise been suppressed. Often in our hectic lives, we don’t have time for creative outlets, but having a creative outlet through our small group could give us the perfect chance to be creative in our daily lives. If you need a creative idea to make your small group more engaging, try painting!
5. Trivia Night
A fifth creative idea to make a small group more engaging is to host a trivia night. Trivia nights are always fun, and you can do them in person or on Zoom. During your trivia nights, you can ask trivia questions over Bible characters, books of the Bible, or other theology questions. It will be a great time to learn more about the Bible as well as have some fun. You can play for prizes or order a pizza for everyone while you play. Either way, it will be great fun to include trivia night at your next small group meeting.
If your small group has individuals of various levels of knowledge concerning the Bible, start with easier questions, and then you can progress to harder questions as the members learn more about the Bible. It is best not to throw very difficult questions at your first couple of trivia nights because it can make other members feel inferior or not as knowledgeable about the Bible. Rather than giving difficult questions, try to start out with simple questions, and then you can progress as the small groups progress in their theology.
Getting creative with your small group is not limited to the ideas listed in this article. If you have your own creative ideas, implement those and see what your small group thinks. Perhaps you could try a poetry reading night, allowing members to share Christian poetry they have created. Or maybe you could host a sports tournament in your backyard. The major thing to remember when trying to engage the members of your small groups is to keep it creative and fun. If the small group is mundane and not exciting, it might be difficult for group members to come back week after week. Try to implement some of these ideas or ideas of your own to help your members engage in your small group. It will not only help your members have a fun time, but it will also help them communicate better with others, understand the Bible clearer, and walk more confidently in their faith with God.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.