groups toolbox.

Welcome Canvas Life Group Hosts! Here you will find everything you need for a happy, healthy community experience. All of these tools are at your disposal for a smooth discussion each time you meet. Enjoy!

talk it over


view and download the PDF with icebreakers and guidance for this week’s group discussion 


Visit this page to access the study questions based on the weekly messages.

training videos

host training video #1

leading a group

host helps

life group helps

ideas for group prayer time

​Jesus is there in your meeting with you. Stay away from sharing prayer requests and then someone at the end tries to remember all that was requested and does their best job trying to repeat what was shared. Jesus heard the prayer requests.

Large Group Prayer:  Give  individual  members  the  opportunity to share prayer requests. Then ask for volunteers to pray for each need. Or if comfortable, have each person pray for the person on their right or left. Every so often have your group stand together when you pray, sometimes I encourage our group to hold hands during prayer.

Guys/Ladies: Have guys pray together and ladies pray together. Give opportunity to share prayer requests and focus on praying through the specific topic that was discussed that evening. This could be a very meaningful time of community building.

Smaller Sub-Groups:  Form smaller sub-groups of  3-4  people and have them share specific needs and pray for one another. You can also sub-group by gender.

Vary “When” You Pray:  While prayer is the most common during the final stage of a meeting, some topics may be conducive to praying earlier in your time together.

Prayer Cards: Have group members write prayer requests on 3×5 cards and exchange them with another member in the group. Encourage people to pray for one another throughout the week. Text, email or by phone follow up with the person you are praying for.

Pair up Prayer: ​By gender​, pair up for prayer during the week. You can be as creative or simplistic as possible when choosing who pairs with whom. Be aware of picking favorites and or leaving someone chosen last or not at all. If numbers are not even just add a third person to a pairing.

REMEMBER: It is best not to call on people randomly to pray unless you know they have prayed out loud in a group before. Either ask people privately before the meeting or ask for volunteers to pray for specific needs. Try not to put people on the spot.

ideas for discussion time

Guys Group/Ladies Group: Some topics may lend towards having guys and ladies discuss separately. If you do this, consider your group dynamic. Who is in your group? Are there natural leaders within each sub-group who will help to facilitate discussion? Are there sensitive personal issues that would lend more towards doing this? Provide the questions for each sub-group.

Testimonies: Give your group opportunities on occasion to share testimonies of what God is doing in their lives. This does not necessarily have to be on topic. Or, you can contact a group member earlier in the week and ask him/her to take 5 minutes to share how they came into a relationship with Christ. This can be a great encouragement and faith builder for your group, and it helps keep people’s focus on life change.

Share Facilitation Responsibilities: Allow other group members, your spouse, and/or your assistant to rotate facilitating discussions. Between you and your spouse, make sure you are leading the majority of discussions as the primary leaders.

Champion Group Meeting Responsibilities:  As a leader, don’t feel like you have to do all the work. Ask for group members to Champion a particular aspect of the group. I.e. A Social/Funl Champion, Snack Champion, Outreach Champion, Group Admin Champion, Ministry Champion, Consider rotating responsibilities such as snacks, facilitating discussion and facilitating prayer times. You can even have teams facilitate activities.

ideas for having fun group social events

Food Theme Nights: Some of our groups have done a theme night around food and asked group members to bring a specific food item with the theme, such as pancake night, homemade pizza night, ice cream sundaes, Mexican food night, etc.

Progressive Dinner: Have your group rotate going to various group members’ homes to eat a meal. Have an appetizer at one house, the main course at a second house and dessert at a third house.

Movie Night: Choose an appropriate movie, have each person bring their favorite movie snack or dessert to share. Have each person share why they chose that favorite snack or dessert. Comfortable modest clothing, PJs could be part of the event.

Picnic: Organize a picnic at a park, especially if your group weekend falls on a holiday, such as Memorial Day.

BBQ or Block Party: This is a great way to invite your neighbors, co-workers, or friends to your group event. Have the group provide the food for your guests. (Please no alcohol) Have activities for the kids, and games for the adults. Let’s show them that Christians can be fun and loving people.

Game Night: Set up a game night for your group. Have different tables set up with various games at each table. Or play the same game at each table and make it a tournament by rotating winners.

ideas for when you (the host) will be out of town

Don’t Cancel Your Group: Your group continuing while you are out of town is a great community-building opportunity. In addition, it is a perfect time to give your apprentice or another solid group member an opportunity to lead.

Prepare Key People: If you know you’ll be out of town for an upcoming meeting, make sure key people in your group know – particularly the host home and your assistant.

Identify Alternative Location: If your group meets at your home, work with another group member to secure an alternative location. Give your group enough advance notice of the location along with directions to get there.

Follow-up When You Return: Once you’re back in town, consider contacting your group members. Let them know you missed your time with the group and are looking forward to your upcoming group time. The wrong thing to say would be, “It was nice to have a break from Life Group for a week!” Bad idea.

Group Vacation: Go on vacation together as a group. This could be a great bonding time or reason to launch new groups. Be aware of appropriate sleeping arrangements, i.e gender exclusivity when necessary, modest clothing at pools or beach settings, and have a biblical topic to discuss during the vacation (make a list of every reminder of God’s beauty, grace, work or inspiration.) Schedule individual “Quiet Times” Bible reading, and discuss your learnings. Involve the children when and if possible so they can see you loving Jesus together.

intros & icebreakers

Create  your own game by listing a group of statements. Next to the statements  leave a place for someone to sign their name. In a certain amount of time have people find others in the group that these statements match. Ex.  Has never been  out of the USA _________; Has had an article published in a magazine or newspaper__________; plays more than one instrument _________, etc.

On  a  piece  of  paper  each  person  draws  a  line  with  highs  and  lows,  significant  events, turning points, etc. of their life. Members share their lifelines with other members.  Members ask questions about each other’s lifelines.  This can be done  also with pipe cleaner.

Members can work on a group collage or individuals collage.  Using magazines cut  out pictures, words, and articles that reflect a theme. Symbolizing goals/purpose, personal collage, accomplishments, or how we want to work together.

On  a  piece  of  paper,  create  a  five-by-five  table  –  like  a  bingo  card.  In  each  square, list potential experiences that will be true of different individuals (such as “born  in  another  state”;  “married  high  school  sweetheart”;  “never  used  a  cell  phone”; “has a cat and a dog”). Copy and distribute the cards. Group members will  then  search  for  others  who  are  a  match  for  the  various  experiences.  When  someone finds a match, have that person initial the appropriate box. The catch is that group members need to have a different person for each box, and a person can only sign off one time for a given item.  For example, if Joe had Mary sign off  on his card as the person who has a dog and cat, Mary cannot sign off for that same  item  on anyone else’s card.  You can play this a couple of different ways:  Play until someone gets five in a row; or play with the goal of seeing how many total squares people can find matches for in a set amount of time (such as three minutes).

On  small  pieces  of  paper write down the names of various famous people from  history, pop culture, etc. (CAUTION: make sure the names you write down are appropriate!).  When  each  person  enters  the  room,  place  a  name  on  each  person’s back without them seeing it. Each person must try to guess the name they are  wearing  by  asking  other  participants  questions.  Only  one  question  can  be  asked at a time to someone. Then one must move on to another person. Before a question  is  asked,  group  members  must  introduce  each  other  and  tell the other  participant one thing about his/her life.

Have  each  group  member  write  an  amazing,  unique,  or  unusual  (but unknown)  fact about him/ herself on an index card. Collect the cards, and then pass out paper with each group member’s name listed next to a blank space.  As you read  each of the cards aloud, have group members use their lists to record their guesses about who each fact is about. See who can correctly match the most facts with the names. The value of this exercise is in the conversations that will arise as people ask for explanations for the things they discover about each other.

At the start of the meeting have everyone make a nametag that includes a picture on it that says something about them.  (A cartoon, symbol, place, caricature)  Go  around the room and have each person explain the drawing. You can use note cards and felt pens or if you want to be really creative, supply construction paper and scissors.

Have each person on a note card write FOUR statements about themselves.  Three  of them need to be true and one needs to be a lie. Then go around the circle and have the person read the statements and have the rest of the group guess which the true statements are, and which the lie is.

Pick a date or a year before the meeting and then give each person a chance to tell  what  they  were  doing  on  that  date.  (Example: Summer 1988 or December  2003)

Have each person bring something to the meeting that means something special to them or that they would not have left home without, and then take turns telling the group about it.  ​Variation: Have each person bring something that represents  their walk with God. ​Outdoor Variation: have them find something outside that represents their walk with God.

Have  people  pair  off  using  criterion  of  not  knowing  each  other  well.  Allow  2-5  minutes for each other to introduce themselves. Then have their partners introduce each other to the group.

Give  everyone  a  large  sheet  of  paper  and  markers  and  crayons.  Have  every  person draw a self portrait. Collect the self portraits hold them and guess who each  one represents. When you figure out who it is, have that person tell a little bit about themselves.

Group  members  are  asked  to  study  the  composition  of  the  group  quietly  and  decide on a superlative adjective that describes themselves in reference to others (youngest,  oldest,  tallest). Then they tell their adjectives and have them explain and then test their accuracy.

Post a large outline of the United States on the wall. Leave enough border space  for those born outside the state. Have participants put their hometown and first name  on a map. Then ask then to share about their hometown.  Ask them how  they came to Canvas Church.

Come  up  with  a  list  of  favorites  that  each  person  can  write  down  and  then go  around the room one Favorite at a time and have them share. (i.e. favorite ice cream flavor, restaurant, movie quote, television actor, childhood memory, etc…)

Have person introduce themselves by name and with an action (wave of hands, head tilted) and all the names and actions have to be repeated around the circle until the last person completes the full circle.

Divide the room into two sides.  Come up with contrasting statements and one side  of the room represents each. As they are mentioned have people pick a side of the  room  based  on  what  they  best  relate.  (Examples-  dog/cat;  Coke/Pepsi;  city/country; Volkswagen/Cadillac; daisy/rose) As a leader you can show your creativity.

Using name tags write down dynamic duos (one name per tag).  Then randomly  tape them on people’s back and have people without using words find their duo. The object is to get them communicating without using words.

Pass  a  lollipop  to every person in the group.  For every letter that appears in the  flavor they receive, the participant has to say something about themselves to the group,  using  the  letters  in  the  flavor, eg. LIME:  ​L​earner,  ​I​ntellectual,  ​M​usical,  Energetic.

Pass a bag of M&Ms around the group.  Encourage everyone to take some.  After  everyone has one the person has to say something about themselves for everyone they took.  So, if they take five- 5 things about themselves.  ​Variation- each color  represents and denotes different things. (GREEN- achievements RED- victory)

Have each member share how they’re feeling and how their day has been.  Light  colors are open for interpretation.

Pick a year and a date and have people say what they were doing on that date.  (Example:  Summer 1993)

Have  everyone  fill  out  the  nametag  and  on  their  nametag  have  people draw a picture on the nametag of something about them. Then go around the room and have people explain what they drew.

My favorite childhood memory was…

Where were you born and how many places have you lived?

Tell us about your first job…

5 words that a friend would use to describe you to a person you have never met.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for vacation, where would you go?

If you were caught in a natural disaster and you had time to remove only one material possession from your house, what would it be?

If you were to have a major motion picture made about you, which actor/actress would star as you, and what genre of movie would it be?

If you were able to have dinner with one famous person from history other than Jesus, who would it be?

If someone offered you a full ride scholarship to go back to college, or go to college for the 1​st​ time, what would you study now?

The most important thing I learned this last year was…

If given $1 million dollars and the only condition to taking the money was that you had to give away half of the money away, who, what, or how would you give your money too?

What is one piece of advice that someone gave you that you have held onto to this day?

If you were to play the lead character (the movie star) in a movie already made, what movie would it be?  Why?  (example- Rocky Balboa, Rocky)

My favorite story in the Bible is…

If given a sabbatical for one year, what would you do?

One goal I would really like to accomplish in life is…

The last time I really laughed was…

The last time I cried was…

Have  small  group  break  up  into  groups  based  on  the  color  of  clothes  they  are  wearing.  Break off into smaller circles separate from the group as a whole.  Every few minutes you will give them a new issue to discuss.

  • Most important thing you have learned this year?
  • What are the easiest and hardest emotions to express?
  • Something a few people know about you.
  • If there was a natural disaster and you could grab one item from your house, what would it be, and why?
  • What do you value in a friend?
  • 5 years from now I will be…
  • What do you miss about your childhood
  • What do you miss about your childhood?
  • What are 5 words that someone would use to describe you?
  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing in your relationship with God?
  • When have you felt closest to God?
  • What do you value in a loving relationship?
  • What do you value most in life?