Games People Play

There is a well-documented piece of research which suggests that the more a church laughs together, the more likely it is to experience numerical growth. Of course this isn’t the only factor, but it is an important one. So during my ministry I have sought to help my churches to be as silly as possible. Not all churches have appreciated this, it has to be said, but the best times have been when we have lived our Christian lives together with a lightness of touch, a lack of taking ourselves too seriously, and a determination to have some fun.

So here’s a game for you to try. I was reminded of this by a friend who sent in an appreciative comment (I think it was appreciative) after one of my son Steve’s recent icebreakers. You can try this for yourself, and I’ll blog some new suggestions from time to time.

The game involves two people, although it can be done from the pulpit with the congregation having learnt their responses (this works well in Anglican churches). The generic script goes like this:

A:            I’ve got a new job.

B:            What is it?

A:            [suggests job or role]

B:            How’s it going?

A:            [provides awful punny witty answer]


You might need a bit more info than that to make sure you really get it, so here’s a couple of examples as starters:

A:            I’ve got a new job.

B:            What is it?

A:            I’m working as a lift operator

B:            How’s it going?

A:            Well, you know. Up and down.


A:            I’ve got a new job.

B:            What is it?

A:            I’m working in a fireplace factory

B:            How’s it going?

A:            Grate!


A:            I’ve got a new job.

B:            What is it?

A:            I’m working in a herb packaging factory

B:            How’s it going?

A:            Well, I’m finding I’ve got a lot of thyme on my hands.


And so on. Please feel free to add your own suggestions below. Let’s see if we can sweep the nation with this ‘new job’ epidemic.


Steve’s Random Icebreaker

A very deep and penetrating question for you this week as you seek to open up discussion at your group meeting.

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If you could be an international sporting star,

or a chart-topping rock musician,

or a world-class musical virtuoso …

then why aren’t you?

World without end. Amen.


It was good to revisit the church where we had once worked, and to see how far they had moved on in their quest for creativity in worship. It was a New Winey, lots-of-worship-songs kind of church, but far from following the music books slavishly they were being dead creative by starting songs not necessarily at the beginning, as is normal, but with the chorus. Coming out of one song, they struck up, without a pause, the rousing chorus:

Be to our God for ever and ever

Be to our God for ever and ever

Be to our God for ever and ever Amen.

This chorus was repeated a few times, then a few times more, with ever-growing intensity, and then without warning we started the next song (from the chorus, of course, not the beginning). Sadly we never did find out exactly what should be to our God: we knew exactly for how long it would be to him, but never what it actually was.

But my favourite piece of musical inanity in worship took place when we were being led in ‘Over the mountains and the sea’ a song, which incidentally, was my nomination when a friend asked via the gift of Facebook what our absolutely worst song was. My immediate response was ‘The one which expects me to sing the line “Oooh I feel like dancing”. I don’t!’ We were being led by an enthusiastic band who seemed particularly to enjoy the line ‘I could sing of your love forever’. Round and round we went, with all the highs and lows of volume and intensity which good worship leaders know instinctively how to handle.

I could sing of your love forever

I could sing of your love forever

I could sing of your love forever

I could sing of your love forever …

After what seemed like about 20 minutes of this, my son (in fact he of the random icebreakers – see below) leant over and whispered in my ear ‘Do you know? I really do believe they could!’

Steve’s Random Icebreaker No 3

Another to add to your collection of questions to get your group’s discussion going:

What’s your favourite thing about a horse?

Children and Communion

Kids eh? Don’t you love ‘em? I have some lovely tales about the involvement of children in worship, like the time early in my Anglican career (having just joined the True Faith from the Baptist church in which I grew up). I was attending our local Anglo-Catholic Shrine, and was still feeling a bit overawed by the splendour and reverence of the liturgy, and not quite sure of how I should behave. The highlight of the Mass was definitely the moment when the consecrated host was raised before the people, with clouds of incense and the sounding of a gong. On one occasion there was a young baby present, and to give it credit it had so far been exceptionally well-behaved. That is until that most sacred moment when, on hearing the sound of the gong, it had decided to join in. A loud cry of ‘Boinnggg!’ echoed round the silent church, and you could literally see people wanting to laugh but not knowing whether at this moment of all moments it was appropriate.


But more recently even that experience was trumped, co-incidentally at the exact same moment in the liturgy (although sans smoke or bells). The President took bread and the chalice in his hands, and lifted them up before God’s people. A cry came from his young granddaughter, who was visiting that day and who had obviously been very carefully trained in her developing table skills : ‘Careful Granddad! Two hands on the cup!’

Fortunately this took place in the kind of church where laughing was OK.


New! Starts today!

Steve’s Random Icebreakers

Fed up with the usual, boring predictable questions to get your group talking? Where were you ten years ago? Who’s your favourite Bible character? Downton or By Any Means? Blah blah blah yawn…

You need Steve’s Random Icebreakers – a new concept in discussion starters. Each week I’ll give you one from my son’s collection for you to try out as you wind your Bible Study or Youth Group up for an evening of deep and meaningful interaction. And of course similar possibilities from you are always welcome.


This week, in the spirit of those magazines which mysteriously appear and disappear without trace a few weeks later, I present you with two offerings to give you the idea. Then you can build up your collection by adding to it each week, or even creating your own Random Icebreakers.

So here goes:


‘What is the biggest thing you have ever pushed?’


‘What do you think really is the point of the Chuckle Brothers?’


See you next week!


Finding myself with a bit of time on my hands I’m happy to receive enquiries about speaking engagements, preaching, church weekends, conferences or whatever. Please get in touch via Twitter @revjohnleach