(This content is partially extracted from On-Purpose Peace pages 10–11.)
On-Purpose Peace is designed to be facilitated by laypersons. You are a facilitator rather than a leader or expert in On-Purpose® or the Bible or clergy. Your role is to convene the Gathering, engage all participants, monitor time, and advance the provided agendas on a timely basis. So relax and have fun. Generally, this content is self-contained although having a Bible nearby for reference is recommended.
Each Gathering is designed to be facilitated in a minimum of 45 minutes exclusive of social or prayer time. 60 minutes is a comfortable time and 90 minutes is the maximum suggested time per Gathering. Create Gathering norms and politely stick to them to productively move through the material. Start on time even if Participants are running late. Ending on time is more important. Respect Participants’ time and schedule by allowing time afterwards for optional ongoing discussions or socializing.
Rather than rehash lots of great content on facilitation that is is already available on the web, please let me direct your attention to Facilitating A Group? for tips and ideas for facilitating a small group.
To become more expert in The On-Purpose® Approach, enroll in The On-Purpose Leader Experience—a six-week, online, interactive mentoring experience led by Kevin W. McCarthy and offered periodically. Learn more at onpurposeleadership.com.
Make This Decision: What will we cover in what period of time?
On-Purpose Peace is rich with content especially for just six Gatherings. This density is by design to accommodate the varied pace, needs, interests, and lifestyle of participants. Therefore, it is designed with three suggested “tracks” or engagement levels:
- Fellowship Group (clear box). If your Gathering is primarily intended to be a 45-minute fellowship group where relationships are being forged, then limit the assignments to reading The On-Purpose Person on one’s own and discussing the Chapter Commentaries within the Gathering. This means very limited preparation time and no coverage of the Articles during the Gathering. Participants, however, are always free to read the Articles, but understand they won’t be discussed in the Gathering.
- Growth Gathering (light gray box). This is doing On-Purpose Peace as it is designed to be, a blend of fellowship and hands-on engagement with the content. Time allocated to each Gathering is 60–75 minutes. This pace enables participants to discuss all of the content evenly and completely. Doing one’s prep work prior to each Gathering creates space for meaningful conversation and engagement. Instead of reading aloud the Articles and discussing, it may make sense to assign it as prep work and discuss at the next Gathering.
- Mastery (dark gray box). If your small group is about deepening their faith and they really want to understand who they are in Christ, then allocate 90 to 120 minutes per Gathering for in-depth discussions. Here, you’ll find that participants are so engaged in learning that the conversations keep going. Nevertheless, it is important that time limits be established and kept. Alternatively, you could do the program over 12 Gatherings (see below).
As the facilitator, therefore, one of your key decisions is to determine the appropriate track for content coverage for the intent of your small group. Modify the Gathering assignments, meetings, or pace to meet the needs of your church or small group.
Idea! 12 Gathering Approach. There is nothing concrete about 6 Gatherings. Feel free to add or double the number of times your small group meets to create the best experience possible for your intentions. The 12 Gathering approach provides more time for relationship making and content coverage. In this format, the Articles could be assigned and discussed as the agenda for a separate Gathering. An added benefit of this slower, yet extended pace is more time for working the On-Purpose Process/assignments.
Remember, you are a peacemaker. So be responsibly relaxed! On-Purpose Peace is a learned lifestyle, not a course with comprehensive testing to assess one’s proficiency. One could participate in On-Purpose Peace multiple times and still not reach its depths. Ultimately, your job as the facilitator is to expose the content, concepts, and process of being on-purpose to participants and to keep the agenda moving along. Given where participants may be in their life, they will determine the degree and measure of their commitment to learning and applying On-Purpose to their life. Take heart, guide the process, create a loving environment, and trust the Holy Spirit to show up.