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14 Thoughts About Helping People Get to Know One Another

I've posted some of these ideas before, but as we head into a new fall and a time when groups are starting and re-starting, it's always useful to re-think about what it means to help people "share their lives" with one another. The first step toward life-sharing relationships is to help people simply get to know each other. With that in mind, here are 14 thoughts about helping the people in your group get to know each other better:

1. Everyone’s name should be known by everyone.

2. People will usually talk about their family and their job.

3. Everybody has a soap-box, let them get on it every so often with no consequences.

4. Talking about the different places you’ve lived is a great way to tell your life story.

5. A simple way to get to know each other: Tell your favorite vacation story.

6. Some people love to talk about themselves, and others hate it. Don’t expect equal participation.

7. Two hours spent playing table games together is one of the most useful things your group can ever do.

8. Food always accelerates intimacy.

9. The more you can encourage people to talk about each other (in
positive ways, when they’re together!) the more everyone will feel
accepted.

10. When people are willing to talk about their disappointments in life, they’re opening themselves to the formative power of the group.

11. Having people share one thing they appreciate about the person to their left, forces them to think about each other.

12. Write down prayer requests and have each person take home someone else’s request. Suggest they send a note or email of encouragement to their person during the week.

13. Encourage everyone to participate, but allow anyone to decline.

14. Use people’s first names as often as possible. Especially early in the group’s life.

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Here is a great exercise for a new group. The instructions are pretty simple. Go around the group giving each person the opportunity to choose one question and answer it honestly. Anyone can follow-up with an opinion or clarifying question (no critiquing each other's answers, though). Once a question has been answered, no one else may answer that question.

If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

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