Business executives often use team building games and activities to build relationships among employees, help them appreciate the differences in one another, and build effective listening and communication skills. Christian leaders can do the same with a congregation or youth group. Biblically, we are one as Christians, so team building is an important part of our Christian development. The goal of these team building activities is to challenge the participants' values, cooperation, decision-making and leadership skills.
You can build teams while simply sitting around a table when you play pen-and-paper team building games. In this game, the leader creates a survival scenario. The specific scenario doesn't matter. The goal is to get the participants to imagine that they are all stranded together in a desperate situation in which they must cooperate to survive. An example is, "your airplane has crashed in the Canadian wilderness. The crew perished in the accident, and you are the only people left. Using only what you brought with you on the trip and the plane materials, develop a plan for getting yourselves to safety." When prompting the group, make sure they know that "easy" ways of communicating with the outside world, like cell phones or e-mail, won't work.
The group should work together and agree on how to use the items they have. They should write down a detailed plan for getting out of the situation safely, including a list of who is in charge of what. Groups usually develop committees at this point; for example, there may be several people in charge of gathering or hunting food, a separate group of people in charge of cooking the food, and another group in charge of making shelter.
Even though this situation is completely imaginary, groups usually respond with a sense of urgency. When the group has a chance to begin talking things out, it becomes apparent that different people have very different ideas of what it will take to survive in a desperate situation. However, if each member of the group cooperates with other members' ideas as well as gives his own input, the group will ultimately develop a plan more quickly and smoothly.
For many survival scenarios, you can use the story of Noah as an example. Even though the world flooded, he came up with a solution: the ark. But he couldn't save the world alone. He had to think about repopulating it after the flood, so he took two of every kind of animal, as well as his own family, with him. Even in the face of what seemed like inevitable death and destruction, Noah was able to survive with God's guidance.
Physical team building activities help group members to literally see the power of teamwork. Before the group members arrive, create a grid on the floor using masking tape. The grid will need to be larger for more participants and smaller for fewer participants. Inside the grid, tape off a clear path through. Then, create a labyrinth using the masking tape around the path through, so that the "real" path isn't clearly visible. There should only be one way to get through the labyrinth.
When the group arrives, have them line up, and allow one person to try getting through the labyrinth at a time. When several people fail, allow the rest of the group to begin calling out instructions or suggestions. When people still fail, have group members inside the labyrinth step out and allow some time for the entire group to study the maze and devise a plan for getting through it. After this time, the group members in the maze should have an easier time getting through it. Use this activity to illustrate that everyone must take time to cooperate and agree for a task to be successful.
You can link physical team building activities to many Bible verses on teamwork, including Proverbs 27:17, Psalm 127:1, Genesis 2:18, and 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. These verses confirm that God wants Christians to work together in all aspects of life, including worshiping Him. They also illustrate that teamwork is beneficial for everyone involved.