LOVE name tags and use them every chance I get. Take the pressure off of yourself and others to remember names by having a name tag station before or at the door. You should also wear a name tag.


As guests enter the classroom, make sure someone is there to greet them. As I mentioned last time, an easy way to break the ice with the greeting process is to physically hand them materials they will use in class. This personal interaction allows you to welcome them, introduce yourself, and ask them questions to get to know them.

The goal here is not to build a foundation for a lifelong friendship and get really personal but to make the guest feel like you care by taking an immediate and warm interest. Here are some examples of easy questions to ask:

  • Is this your first time here?
  • How did you find us?
  • Do you know anyone else here?

If many people come into the room simultaneously, having a conversation may not be possible. In that case, just warmly greet them, hand them their packet, and let them know where to sit.

I LOVE name tags and use them every chance I get.

Getting the Class Started

Once everyone is seated and ready, you can give a general welcome to get everyone’s attention and get things going. Your energy level is essential here, as it will set the tone for the class. My goal is to be excited and friendly without going over the top. Something simple like this works well: “Welcome to Starting Point! I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to get to know you all!”

After the welcome, I want to briefly explain what we will do and the class’s primary goal(s).

“For the next (six) weeks, we’re going to get to know each other, learn more about (your church name), and introduce you to what we believe.”

Breaking the Ice

One of the biggest goals of this class is to get to know people. You want them to know you, and you want to get to know each other. So, we’re looking for common interests and touchpoints to form connections.

A typical icebreaker is like this: “Tell us your name, where you’re from, and one fun fact about yourself.” These questions are standard and boring. And that last one often puts people on the spot with some pressure they didn’t expect. If they do come up with an answer, it’s not always the best answer. Now, disclaimer: while I want everyone to be as comfortable as possible, obviously, at some point, they’ll need to open up if they’re going to get to know people, but I do want to ease people into that process. I do this in a couple of different ways.

First, there is a small questionnaire at each seat. Instead of initially asking the questions out loud and putting the class on the spot, I let them read them and write down their answers while waiting for the class to start.

Second, I have a few rules about these questions.

  1. The questions should be easy to answer while revealing something about their personality.
  2. Only include up to two questions. This allows them to think deeper without pressure to complete a whole survey.
  3. The questions should be about things people generally like to share, like sports, opinions, recommendations, or something that brings good feelings or memories.
  4. Don’t ask for “favorites.” Narrowing down something to an absolute favorite is often challenging. Instead, ask for something recent or good. You’ll usually get the favorite without the pressure of it being the favorite 😉

Sample Questions

  • Who is a team you cheer for?
  • What is a local restaurant you would recommend?
  • What’s a good movie you watched recently?
  • What is a great vacation spot?
  • What would it be if you could instantly be an expert in something?
  • What is a good podcast you listened to recently?
  • What’s the first app you open while sitting at the DMV?
  • What’s a meal you loved growing up?
  • If you could play a game on the Price is Right, what would you play?

Now again, the typical way to share this information is to go one by one and have people introduce themselves and give their answers, but we can do it in a more engaging way that can actually build a connection between people in the class.

First, I don’t ask them to share their name. Remember, they should already have nametags on 🙂 Let’s get right to the fun part.

I might say it like this: “OK, hopefully, everyone wrote an answer down on their sheet in front of you. If not, you have a minute. Let’s start on this side of the room (I’ll point to the right or left). Someone share a restaurant you would recommend.” (Pro Tip: When you’re trying to “break the ice,” directness helps. Don’t say, “Who wants to share?” Tell the class to share.)

If nobody volunteers right away, call on somebody (you know their name cause they have their name tag on).

Somebody might answer “Lachelle’s Fine Foods.”

“Awesome! Anyone else second that recommendation?”

If there is someone, now these two people have a connection. If you want, you can follow this up with “What’s good there?”

Repeat this process until everyone has answered or you feel the energy in the room lagging.

You also have the option to gamify this icebreaker by trying to find one answer that everyone has in common.

The Perfect Starting Point Curriculum

If you’re looking for a good book and curriculum for your Starting Point class, we designed and wrote A Visual Theology Guide to the Bible specifically for this purpose. It introduces people to the Bible, answers questions they might have about it, and then leads them through the whole thing, teaching the gospel and showing how Jesus is the hero all the way through.

We have a study guide, slides, and handouts available to help you teach through the whole thing! You can get it all here – you can even download the first three weeks for free.

If you’re a Gold or Platinum member, all the study materials are included in your membership. If you’re not a member, join today and get access to all our curricula and posters!