Facilitating a small group is fun and rewarding, and it reinforces your learning experience. Regardless of whether you are new to it or highly experienced, it is healthy when you better understand your role.
For On-Purpose Peace, be sure to read the Facilitator’s information on pages 10–11 and the Participant guidelines on pages 8–9, respectively, in your Guidebook. If you are looking for information on facilitating specific parts of On-Purpose Peace, please visit the Facilitators Forum. Rather than selling a Facilitator’s Guide, we’re offering a membership/community at a nominal investment. Also, be sure to use the free videos for each Gathering that are found on this website.
Your Role: Like the first violinist in a symphony orchestra, you are the first among equals. Others will likely look to you for interpretation and guidance of the group dynamic, but you need not feel pressure to be a content or biblical expert. Your role is to let the content positively provoke the participants into discovery as the group is capable.
Your Learning: There’s an old expression, “The best way to learn something is to teach it.” In this case, you’re actually facilitating, not teaching, but the adage still applies. So, congratulations for your further commitment to be an on-purpose person in creation. Your sense of greater responsibility will be rewarded.
The True Agenda: This may sound odd coming from the author of On-Purpose Peace—the On-Purpose Peace materials are not the agenda; they are part of the larger agenda. Small groups are about forming relationships so this content needs to be understood in this context. We’re not doing a college course for credit with testing and pass–fail grading. We’re doing life together.
On-Purpose® is about respecting the inherent God-given essence of each person and loving them where they are. Set group norms or standards while helping each participant to find his or her success within the small group experience. Manage the group dynamic and let the content do what it is designed to do. Avoid getting sucked into defending the content or author. Any study worth its weight is about shifting or transformation and that will stir things loose. Keep the group moving along, yet don’t feel the need to discuss everything. Stay within the time commitments.
Resources: Just in case this is your first time to facilitate a small group, here are some applicable resources from around the web.
While designed for medical students, this provides a quick overview of the basics and skills of facilitation.
This page offers sound advice such as, “But here’s the good news: that’s not what facilitating a group discussion is really about. We don’t have to have all of the right answers. We don’t have to lead the perfect discussion every time. We don’t even have to get through all of the material in each meeting!”
Dig around this site for small groups as it has some great information for you. Specifically, the following articles my be helpful:
So relax and make this a fun opportunity to grow and learn from the wisdom of the group. Trust that the content will provide the appropriate stimulation for discussions and learning.
This is an excellent PDF overview of Small Groups in church settings. Makes me want to worship here! From their website:
Great information on starting and growing a healthy, vibrant small group. Topics include:
- Five Purposes of Life-Changing Groups
- Small Group Agreements
- Engaging the Whole Group
- Listening, Facilitating, and Prayer
- Healthy Small Groups/Tough Situations
- Family Small Groups with Children
- Small Group Life Cycle
- Bringing Service into the Life of Your Small Group