Ice Breakers

December 12, 2014
by Lori Ciccanti

Psalm 147:18 – He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow. (NASB)

I attended a church event which included some fun activities for the Christmas season. The first one was called an "ice breaker" because it was meant to make everyone feel at home. The following names were written on the blackboard: the amazed shepherds, Rudolph, the wise men, the Grinch, Mary, and Frosty the snowman. Then our group was asked to share whom they most identified with. From a mother's perspective, some related to Mary; others associated with the wise men as they thought about their own journey of faith; and there were those who identified with secular characters such as Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman — stories that they perceived as having spiritual application. This was an innovative way to begin the program, and I gleaned new insights from other members of our fellowship.

Afterward, this exercise made me wonder how we might break the ice as we present ourselves to visitors in our congregation. Years ago, when my family were guests in a new church, the lady sitting in front of us immediately turned around and wanted to know if we were saved. I was taken aback by her assertiveness, and I thought that it would have been nicer if she had welcomed us first. I suppose that many people find it a little awkward talking to outsiders who are unfamiliar to them.

One minister recommended that congregants treat visitors as "God's guests" rather than strangers. Another suggested that greeters practice listening skills and engage in real, genuine interactions. First, however, we should prayerfully consider what questions to ask. Then, we can help our guests connect with others by personally inviting them to church programs and special events. The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year to extend an invitation. Perhaps we can think of other ice breakers that will spread the love of Jesus and warm the hearts of our guests during this beautiful time of year.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are a God Who welcomes all people everywhere to worship Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Send forth Your Word, melt our hearts, and grant us a friendly spirit to spread the joy of this Advent season with all who enter the doors of Your church. In Messiah's holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good message Lori, Thank you!


    A good reminder Lori. Thanks for sharing.


    Thanks so much for your icebreaker thoughts.


    Great ideas Lori!!!
    Blessings.


    Thanks, I love 4 Sundays of Advent.
    (OK.)


    Lori!
    Thank you for breaking the ice!
    Praying the Lord will find His way to all the icy situations through His people!
    With Christmas blessings!


    Lori great story. The “ice breaker” is great idea and can see how it would be a gray starter in any fellowship gathering.
    It was nice how you converted to how we share the good news. We should build a relationship with someone before sharing our testimony even if it just a warm greeting.


    Dear Lori,
    The Kingdom has little to do with cultural mores and politeness. However, we soon forget that we were once on the outside looking in. If we did maybe we would be more considered in our responses?
    Happy CHRISTmas.


    Dear Lori,
    Thank you for the message. I read it twice and it was even better the second time. Yes, pray quickly as you consider what to say quickly because the opportunities pass by so quickly.
    I once was given this list of suggestions to know what to say.
    Keep writing, Lori.
    I pray for special blessings for you at Christmas time.


    Lori: This is an amazing devotional. We have what we call “session contact visitors” in our church. Each member and adherent is tied to one of the s/c visitors. They are the liaison to the people (through telephone, letter, email and visiting). It is working well. We are sending your devotional to all our s/c visitors.
    Although I knew it, reading your devotional really made me think, again, about our approach and being careful.
    Thank you. God Bless. Merry Christmas.


    Hello Lori
    Seems to me that the best “ice-breaker” we can offer is just to say to someone that we don’t remember having met previously – at the same time offering a hand in fellowship (sometimes called a “Presbyterian hug”).
    If they respond in a way that indicates an openness to conversation, one simply follows their lead.
    If they don’t then one simply says “I’m happy to have met you” (even if they do not offer you their name – because, however, limited in scope, you have “met” them).
    (AB, Canada)


    I quite enjoyed your devotion, Lori. The ice breaker event that you attended sounds like a great idea for all churches to try.
    What I especially liked was your minister’s suggestion that we not treat visitors to the church as strangers but as God’s guests! In reality, that IS precisely what new-to-us people are who come to where we regularly worship.‎ Perhaps if we did remember that these “new” people were visitors to God’s house that we should help make feel welcome, they would seem less like strangers to us and soon, they would not be the “new” people we didn’t know.
    Please do continue to write.
    God bless and have a blessed and Merry Christmas!


    A very good word Lori, as always. Thank you so much.


    Dear Lori,
    Icebreakers are good to use when groups of people who may not know each other can get to feel part of the group. It has always been a challenge for those who are the regulars to reach out and make newcomers welcome.
    A good devotional to write, especially at this joyful time of the year.
    Have a blessed Christmas with your family.

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