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5 Team Icebreakers That Won’t Make You Cringe

You’ve just arrived on the field for your next mission trip with a team that you’ve never met before or missionaries you’ve never worked with before. On your first morning, the trip leader suggests a few group icebreakers to help increase team morale and to get everyone feeling comfortable. You cringe; It’s the same icebreaker games you experienced your first summer of jr. high summer camp.

We’ve written up 5 icebreakers for you and your teams to try that are actually fun, fresh and effective. If you’ve tried one of these or have other creative ideas for icebreaker games, share your story in the comments below!

1. Brain Teasers

This type of icebreaker could be just what your team needs, especially if you have several introverted members. Brain teasers get the mind’s wheels turning and give team members the chance to think internally about their answers before they begin discussing with the rest of the group. Group discussion will naturally progress as team members begin to dissect and solve a  good brain teaser.

Try it out:

Tell a fictional story that begins with, “You are driving a school bus…” As you continue, add numbers to the story such as; “There are 23 kids on the bus”, “10 of the bus windows will not open”, “There were 14 potholes along the way”, etc, etc. Go on for a reasonable amount of time. At the end of your story ask the question, “Who is driving the bus?” See how many of your team members remember the very first sentence of the story, “You are driving a school bus.”

2. Fill In the Blank

This game goes beyond your basic ‘fill in the blank’ games where you learn about favorite foods. When you get creative with this, it gives everyone a chance to be silly and form bonds over similarities.

Try it out:

Put together a playlist of popular songs, both old and new. Play a 15 to 30-second clip of each song and ask team members to pick up singing the lyrics once you’ve turned the song off. See who knows the correct lyrics or if anybody has been making up their own lyrics!

3. Sit Down If

This icebreaker lends itself nicely to larger groups. It can start with the group leader facilitating but don’t hesitate about giving team members the reigns for a few minutes and allowing them to ask qualifying questions. This is a great way for members to use their creativity and to begin recognizing who is who in the group.

Try it out:

The game starts with everyone standing up. The facilitator will then read a statement and all those to whom it applies will sit down. Create fun statements that help you get to know your team such as, “Sit down if this is your first mission trip.” The last team member standing is the winner and can now become the facilitator!

4. Year Of the Coin

The aim of this game is to learn something about each of your team members and to encourage talking and sharing. This short and simple game allows people to share snippets of their life, which can open the door for meaningful conversations between team members as your trip progresses.

Try it out:

For this icebreaker game, you’ll need several coins (the value doesn’t matter). Hand a coin to each person, and have everyone share what they were doing in the year the coin was made. Their answers can be significant or very insignificant, but either way, encourage people to keep it relatively short.

5. Two Extremes

This fun icebreaker can allow team members to express where they stand on an issue. This game can gently ease team members into open conversations about compassion and caring for the poor and oppressed as Jesus would.

Try it out:

Create a line by laying a piece of long string or tape on the ground, or just create an imaginary line. The line represents s spectrum of ideas and thoughts. Have the team leader start by introducing simple differences like, “Those who think it’s more comfortable to sleep on their back, stand on the right, and those who think it’s more comfortable to sleep on their stomach, move to the left side.” As the game continues, and team members warm-up, you can begin to ask more meaningful questions such as, “If you feel it’s acceptable to give your spare change or cash to a homeless person, stand on the right, and those who prefer to give supplies, stand on the left.” Now allow your team to discuss their thoughts in a controlled environment.

AUTHOR: Faith Ventures

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4 Comments
  • Marilene

    These look great. I’m planning to give several of them a try as I’ve just been asked to “own” the icebreakers on a forty-member mission team later this month. Thank you, Jessica.

    July 1, 2015
  • Bev Wesley

    We will be giving a couple of these a try this weekend, our Mission Team of 10 will be heading to Peru in August 2019. We are will be working on team building etc. Thank you!! Thank you!

    May 2, 2019
  • Victoria Tegg

    I am a drama teacher and I play a lot of improv games with the kids in my class. The first thing they ask as soon as they walk through the door is: “Can we play …… ?” I have games I rely on that my kids love, but I have been needing ideas for new exciting games that are easy to play with big or small groups and that don’t cost me too much money. I think I just struck GOLD by seeing your video!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Y’ALL ROCK!!!

    August 6, 2019

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