When Do You Ask an Icebreaker Question?

Have you thought about the best time to ask an icebreaker question?

When you ask this type of question can make a significant difference in member participation for the duration of the discussion.

The answer to when is the best time to ask is obvious, right? Maybe not as obvious as you think.

What Is an Icebreaker Question?

An icebreaker question is simply a question that helps people relax and begin talking during your discussion time. It encourages your members to continue to participate when the questions require them to be more vulnerable later in the conversation.

The icebreaker question should have several of these characteristics:

  • Fun
  • Easy to answer
  • Compelling
  • Safe to answer (no vulnerability)
  • Topic familiar to all

Is there a “best time” to use this question to improve the small group conversation? I believe there is and it may not be when you are asking it today.

When Is the Best Time to Ask an Icebreaker Question?

For as long as I remember, I have started out Bible study discussions with an icebreaker question. It is the first question I ask. It has repeatedly proven that a better group discussion follows when this is the way the discussion begins.

But recently I started wondering if there is a better way to increase the desire of ALL members to take part in the discussion. The answer came to me suddenly (the Holy Spirit works that way sometimes).

Send the icebreaker question out to members a couple of days before the meeting!

I tried it with my small group and it works. It REALLY works!

Participants took it seriously. They did the homework. They were mentioning the assignment even before we got into our discussion time. The responses were well thought out. Some even wrote out their response and read it to the group. More importantly, every member contributed in a significant way during the rest of the discussion.

Try It With Your Small Group

I urge you to try this technique with your small group. Let me know about your experience or about other ways to grow member participation during group Bible studies by leaving a comment here.

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